Exxaro continues its role in ensuring food security, nutrition in communities

19th October 2020 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

Exxaro continues its role in ensuring food security, nutrition in communities

Exxaro Resources’ executive head of sustainability Mongezi Vetti

JSE-listed miner Exxaro Resources’ executive head of sustainability Mongezi Vetti has reiterated the company’s commitment to transferring its rehabilitated land to communities toward establishing agro-economies.

This follows after President Cyril Ramaphosa on October 5 spoke about government’s land reform process and its commitment to enhancing agricultural output by bringing more black farmers into the mainstream of the economy.

Vetti says redistributing land to black farmers is critical for the country, not only to address historical injustices, but also to safeguard’s South Africa’s food security.

Exxaro supports this redress and continues to progress its Minerals Succession Programme, which involves granting emerging farmers access to land on the Strathrae nonmining area.

The Strathrae properties are part of Exxaro’s old Strathrae colliery, in Mpumalanga.

Having obtained 2 282 ha through three sperate lease agreements, the land is being used to assist emerging farmers with access to farmable land in an economically viable and sustainable manner.

Exxaro says the land provides grazing for livestock and food security for the community, while enabling competitive markets, job opportunities and sustainable communities in the area.

“This initiative represents the progress we have made to redistribute access to land back to black entrepreneurs, as well as our vision for a more growth-driven future for the communities in which we operate.

“We hope that more companies will invest in initiatives like these to assist the government in supporting more black farmers. We have already seen many successes arise as a result of this programme, and look forward to continuing to provide more farmers with a platform for success,” Vetti states.

As at December last year, Exxaro had rehabilitated 2 277 ha of land and plans to rehabilitate much more. Exxaro maps out potential land for agri-economies to transcend dependency on mining. The company aims to transfer 90% of post-mining land to emerging farmers in local communities by 2026, while creating strategic partnerships to advance these agro-economies.

Agriculture in South Africa currently employs about 850 000 people, but with the country’s fertile land and temperate climate, it has the potential to contribute far more than it currently does to the economy and employment numbers.

Vetti highlights that Exxaro’s sustainability initiatives are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those about ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.

“We call on other companies to manage land sustainably, restore degraded areas and improve irrigation and storage technologies, all towards increased agricultural production for food security and improved nutrition within our communities.”