Mineworkers’ Investment Company’s (MIC) empowerment farming programme

Started by the Mineworkers’ Investment Company’s (MIC), benefitting small holder farmers

Why was it started?
In 2007 MIC, a 100% BEE company, established by the Mineworkers’ Investment Trust, started the farming programme, as part of its corporate social investment, to benefit communities in which the company’s mining, construction and energy production workers were rooted.

How was it done?
At a cost of about R300 000 the following was supplied: a pump, filters and drip irrigation pipelines, seedlings, fertiliser and pesticides. The infrastructure has the capacity for 8 ha. Farming started with 2 ha, to allow for training and experience. The 2 ha block is divided into four blocks and planted fortnightly, with planting increasing as skills are acquired. Because vegetables have a three-month turnaround time and cash flow is ensured.

The MIC is financially involved for only two years. However, mentorship, training and advice continue until farmers are confident about working alone. The model is very simple because it starts generating cash in three to four months. This is why vegetables was chosen.

Harvesting starts three to four months after planting. After several harvests, as a result of the quick income generation, farmers are able to finance some of their own inputs.

MIC secured off-take agreements with Freshmark to ensure these farmers have access to markets

How was it funded?
Tracker, a vehicle tracking company, donated two tractors, ploughs, discs, rotorvators and boom sprayers.
Setpoint Technologies, an equipment supplier specialising in pump system design and manufacture, sponsored infrastructure including pumps, fertigation systems and pipelines.

Social and Economic Implications
The project attended to basic food security and offered opportunities for generating income through selling produce.