Kumba launches R16 million farming project in Thabazimbi

Present at the Kumba launch of the Bakotudi Bio-Energy Project at the Bakotudi Organic Farm were from left to right: Mr Quinton Naidoo (HEAD: FEED), Councillor Patricia Mosito, Mayor of Thabazimbi Local Municipality, Me Cornelia Holtzhausen, Manager Kumba Thabazimbi Mine, Honourable Joy Matshoga (MEC: Limpopo Department of Agriculture & Rural Development) and Shaun Clarke (Director: Food & Trees for Africa). Behind them is the open field of healthy green vegetables. About 60 percent of the vegetables are grown in tunnels covered by shade netting to protect it against the harsh bushveld sun, hail and insects.
Present at the Kumba launch of the Bakotudi Bio-Energy Project at the Bakotudi Organic Farm were from left to right: Mr Quinton Naidoo (HEAD: FEED), Councillor Patricia Mosito, Mayor of Thabazimbi Local Municipality, Me Cornelia Holtzhausen, Manager Kumba Thabazimbi Mine, Honourable Joy Matshoga (MEC: Limpopo Department of Agriculture & Rural Development) and Shaun Clarke (Director: Food & Trees for Africa). Behind them is the open field of healthy green vegetables. About 60 percent of the vegetables are grown in tunnels covered by shade netting to protect it against the harsh bushveld sun, hail and insects.

As part of its approach to sustainable development, Kumba Iron Ore’s Thabazimbi mine handed over a R16 million bio-energy and organic vegetable project to the community of Regorogile, near Thabazimbi, Limpopo. The project is growing fresh organic vegetables and supplies local and regional retailers such as Spar and Pick ‘n Pay while exporting some of their produce to overseas markets. Limpopo Agriculture MEC Joey Matshoge together with Mayors of the Waterberg District and Thabazimbi local municipalities are among the dignitaries that attended the event on 5 September 2014.
Thabazimbi mine also planted bamboo trees as part of their Social Labour Plan commitments to offset carbon emissions and for sustainable development. The trees take up to 7 years to mature and during the waiting period, 6 hectares of land next to the bamboo project was dedicated to growing fresh produce the organic way. To date, the farm has created twenty-three full time jobs and made a significant social and economic impact on this community that has been ravaged by poverty and food insecurity.
Kumba in partnership with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) and Farmer Eco-Enterprise Development Africa (FEED),invited members of the community who were growing gardens in their backyard or had some farming experience to participate on a voluntary basis. They then formed the Bakotudi Primary Agricultural Cooperative to deliver products at the required volume and quality of production necessary to establish a commercially viable agricultural enterprise
Thabazimbi Mine General Manager, Cornelia Holtzhausen explains: “At Kumba, sustainability is part of our everyday business. How we take care of the environment is at the core of our values and delivers considerable benefits to the company. Kumba’s partnership with FTFA speaks to our commitment to sustainable and equitable community development within the areas of our operations. This projects will enable community farmers to become commercial farmers.”
It is part of Kumba’s motto that people make the difference and enables the company to make this difference work.
Kumba is committed to environmental stewardship and minimising the impact of its operations. During 2013 alone, Kumba invested R253.7 million in various projects aimed at leaving a positive legacy, which they delivered in consultation with the relevant host communities.
FTFA Acting Executive Director, Quinton Naidoo said: “With the support of Kumba Iron Ore, FEED Africa not only has the ability to change lives of emerging farmers across South Africa today, but with the long-term sustainability of the projects, these lives remain changed indefinitely.”