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Exxaro gives land to emerging farmers, helps build agri-economy


Exxaro gives land to emerging farmers, helps build agri-economy

28TH AUGUST 2020

BY: MARLENY ARNOLDI
CREAMER MEDIA ONLINE WRITER

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As part of its support for South Africa’s land distribution policy, JSE-listed diversified miner Exxaro Resources has embarked on a minerals succession programme that maps the potential agri-economies in communities surrounding its mines.

“We are constantly looking at proactive solutions to challenges facing those in our host communities. However, for us to live up to this ideal – we have placed a greater focus on investments that go beyond the traditional corporate social investment (CSI) model,” it says.

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For example, the company’s land management goals for 2026 include transferring 90% of post-mining land to emerging farmers in local communities, while creating strategic partnerships with farmers to advance these agri-economies.

To this end, Exxaro hopes to increase agricultural production for food security and improved nutrition within communities, specifically the rural areas where poverty and hunger are integrally linked.

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“To accomplish this goal, we first need to manage our lands sustainably, restore degrading areas and improve irrigation and storage technologies,” the company explains.

This CSI initiative is being undertaken in partnership with emerging farmers, with the aim of granting access to land for black empowerment farming businesses on the Strathrae non-mining area.

Exxaro's Strathrae properties are part of the old Strathrae colliery, in Mpumalanga, which is also a wholly owned subsidiary of Exxaro.

Having obtained 2 282 ha through three separate lease agreements, the Exxaro-owned land will be used to provide and assist emerging farmers with access to farmable land in an economically viable and sustainable manner.

The benefits of this project are twofold. Firstly, it will aid many with valuable farming resources such as grazing for animals and food security for the community.

Secondly, it will promote economic transformation by developing entrepreneurs and suppliers.

This will, in turn, lead to competitive markets, generating more jobs and establishing sustainable communities.

Of the 15 emerging farmers captured in the Exxaro Sustainability Database, three entities were identified and were allocated land accordingly.

These entities include Z & F Group, a startup entity focused on feedlot and grazing for animals; LSTL Trading Enterprises, who specialises in the planting, harvesting and drying of soybeans and maize; and Jodonna Enterprises, whose main activities centre around crop and livestock farming.

After conducting interviews with these entities, their intentions to develop the local community became clear. For starters, LSTL Trading claims to have noticed the local youth’s hunger for skills development opportunities and have vouched to employ only people from the surrounding area.

In addition to the promise of employing seasonal workers from the community during planting and harvesting seasons, Jodonna Enterprises would be a host employer to eight university graduates for their workplace experiential learning from August 1 for 24 months, where they will be exposed to internship programmes with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Finally, Exxaro will assist and guide two neighbouring farmers at Leeuwpan to transform their cattle farming operations into a commercial business.

“These businesses stand as inspiration to many of our community members and represent the progress we have made as a country to redistribute the land back to black entrepreneurs,” says Exxaro stakeholder affairs executive head Mzila Mthenjane.

He describes the project as a means to reimagine the potential of farmable land.

Exxaro chooses to purposefully invest in meaningful investments that create a sustainable future for all South Africans, and, in doing so, empower black entrepreneurs with the tools, resources and support needed to succeed.

“We will continue to explore possible opportunities that support the socioeconomic development of people in and around our host communities, bettering the lives of these people and beyond,” Exxaro states. 

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