Illovo Sugar Malawi has commended its Phata Sugarcane Outgrowers Cooperative in Malawi for winning the inaugural “Growing a Better Planet Award” under the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA), by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform).
The SAI Platform is a global non-profit network and one of the primary global food and drinks value-chain initiatives for sustainable agriculture, developing sustainable agriculture solutions through member-driven pre-competitive collaboration. Its solution, the FSA, enables businesses to assess, improve, and validate farm sustainability.
The FSA Growing a Better Planet Award celebrates farmers, individuals and organizations demonstrating
leadership and innovation in their efforts to continuously improve on-farm sustainability.
Handing over the award to the Phata dignitaries, Illovo Sugar Malawi Managing Director Lekani Katandula
said that he was incredibly pleased about the win, given the long-standing and close partnership with the
Phata Cooperative and their management consultants Agricane, which has matured over the past 12
“The major benefit we both share in this relationship, outside of our business transactions, is that of the
assurance we both have for ongoing governance, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability in the
supply chain. This assurance is guided and verified through the FSA tool, together with Phata’s Fairtrade
“This award recognizes the cooperative’s leadership in sustainability, operating within a community
stressed by climate change, deforestation, and poverty. They have driven interventions such as renewable
charcoal production, crop diversification, and biodiversity which have demonstrated that sustainability is
possible, and indeed essential, within a smallholder context,” said Lekani.
AgriCane, Co-Founders of Phata Bouke Bijl said that verification initiatives like the FSA are key drivers for the continued success of the Phata Cooperative in ensuring that it remains an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable production entity that will consistently
continue providing income and livelihood security to all of its members.
“As the Phata Team, we are very proud to have achieved this award! This could only be achieved with the continued efforts of the management team and the committed leadership by the Executive Committee,” said Bouke.
The ground-breaking achievement by Phata follows Illovo Sugar Africa’s first FSA audit process in 2022.
The result of the audit conducted under FSA version 3.0 was “silver level” status for all of its participating
estates, those being Nchalo Estate, Dwangwa, Maragra, Kilombero, Nakambala and Ubombo.
The three independent growers within the Nchalo factory’s cane supply also participated in the 2022 FSA audits, of which Phata Cooperative and Kasinthula Cane Growers Association were the very first sustainability accreditation for smallholder sugarcane farming in Africa under FSA 3.0. Kaombe Sugar
Estate, a large-scale grower in the Shire Valley also achieved a Silver Level status.