cane growing in south africa
South African Farmers Development Association

The South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA), which was established on 25 November 2015, is a registered not-for-profit development association of farmers.

SAFDA was provisionally recognized by the South African sugar industry at the end of December 2017, when it was given a voice but not a vote on the Sasa Council. This followed a protracted two-year battle to gain official recognition following concerns raised about the plight of small-scale and land reform farmers. In October 2018, SAFDA was officially recognised as a farmer representative body in the South African sugar industry through gazetting of transitional provisions by the dti.

Some of the key challenges that led to SAFDA’s formation was the decrease in the number of small-scale farmers from 50 000 in the early 2000s to about 20 000 currently, as well as the lack of development and growth of land reform farmers.

The Association therefore sees itself as a case for South Africa’s economic transformation in the agribusiness sector and a home for all progressive farmers – black and white, small, medium and large.

While serving the business interest of all its members, the Association pays special attention to improving profitability and sustainability of small-scale and land reform farmers.

This is at the heart of SAFDA’s focus areas of:

  • Transformation
  • Land Reform and Small-scale Farmers
  • Grower Capacity Development
  • Grower Financing
  • Bulk Buying, Diversification and Value-Chain Participation.

As part of its main functions, SAFDA offers economic research and business advisory services, grower training and development, lobbying and advocacy for policies thereby ensuring the sustainability of all farmers.

SAFDA’s vision, mission and values focus on both short-term and long-term objectives. In the short term the focus is predominantly on the challenges facing small-scale and emerging farmers in the sugar industry. This can be traced back to the reason that SAFDA was borne – to be the voice for the voiceless and marginalised sugarcane farmers who felt excluded from effective participation in the traditional industry structures that have been in place for well over a century.

SAFDA aims to influence the full industry value chain, to ensure that like-minded farmers can realise value from greater participation in each link and make a sustainable contribution to the industry and the economic wellbeing of the country.


Thriving rural communities – thriving rural economy


To work towards farmer driven partnerships for transformation, development and sustainability of all farmers and the enhancement of rural economies.


  • Co-operation
  • Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Profitable Partnership
  • Accountability
  • Efficiency and Reliability
  • Respect