24th – 28th June 2024   •   Durban, South Africa

SAI Platform Annual Event 2024

Building climate change resilience through regenerative agriculture

24th – 28th June 2024   •   Durban, South Africa

SAI Platform Members Only   •   #SAIPlatform2024
SAI Platform Members Only #SAIPlatform2024

Option 2: Diversified Farming with Illovo Sugar

Join Illovo Sugar for a visit to Donovale Farming Company and the South African Sugarcane Research Institute

Donovale Farming Company

Donovale Farming Company is uniquely positioned in a transitional zone between coastal and inland climates in the KwaZulu-Natal region. This gives them a broad choice of crops that will thrive. The farm spans 985 hectares consisting of sugar cane, navel oranges, hass avocados and tea tree.

Join Illovo Sugar and Ant and Chris Edmonds for an engaging on-farm experience to explore how progressive land management, diversification and sustainable agriculture practices have shaped their operations.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn how Ant and Chris are using SUSFARMS, a locally-relevant and globally recognised continuous improvement system which recently received gold level equivalency with the FSA, to transition to more sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.

Experience firsthand the impact of minimum tillage, drip irrigation and innovative approaches to supporting a healthy microbial subsoil environment. The climate here isn’t partial to the practice of trashing so all cane is burnt. The burns are kept as cool as possible so that the optimal balance between high organic content, good germination rates, acceptable costs and low cutter complaints is achieved.


SASRI was established in 1925 to produce new disease-resistant varieties of sugarcane to support a growing sugar industry. Today, the institute is world-renowned for its research into the development of new sugarcane varieties and improved crop management and farming systems that enhance profitability and sustainability.

A guided tour of the Research Institute will introduce delegates to the modern biotechnological approaches used to enhance SASRI’s Plant Breeding Programme, as well as the integrated pest and disease management research used to support a network of biosecurity teams engaged in surveying the industry for pests and diseases. Delegates will have the opportunity to visit the NovaCane® tissue culture facility for the propagation of new varieties released to growers and the quarantine glasshouse where molecular techniques are used for the detection of the most important sugarcane diseases.

In addition to providing sound research outcomes, much emphasis is placed on transferring agricultural knowledge to the industry. This is achieved through a well-established network of Extension Specialists based in the various regions of the sugar industry. Delegates will have the opportunity to engage with these specialists about how they use research trials, such as BT1, the ongoing and long-term sugarcane trial established in 193, to investigate the effects of trashing versus burning on sugarcane yield, to educate farmers about the benefits of regenerative farming techniques.Kwazulu-Natal