De Beers and the Kungwini Local Municipality, part of the Metsweding District Municipality in which Cullinan Diamond Mine operates, will develop and expand the Agricultural Hub in Kungwini. The company committed nearly R2 million ($285,467) for the expansion of crop farming projects for farmers in the region.
The projects in South Africa will beginning in 2008 will receive anywhere from R100 000 ($14,277) to R750 000 ($107,126) a year, determined by the stage of development of the farming project, De Beers said in a statement. The money will enable the community to develop an agricultural hub with the aim of transforming the crop farming projects into a commercially viable and self-sustaining agricultural entity.
De Beers recently sold the mine to an empowerment consortium, and while the ownership will change when the transaction is completed in 2008, De Beers said it will continue to be involved in many of the projects in education, health (particularly HIV/AIDS), youth sport and recreation projects, and small business development.
The partnership between De Beers and the Kungwini Municipality and the Tshwane University of Technology will add to the job opportunities available for the community of Kungwini and will expand local agricultural and farming skills. The supply of crops to local and provincial markets should benefit from this initiative, De Beers said in a statement.
The agriculture partnership will focus on introducing stream and rotational crop farming and hydroponics in addition to improving the effectiveness of existing poultry farming activities. It is anticipated that the project will initially create new employment for up to 25 local women and that employment levels will increase to 40 jobs within the first few years of operation. Such projects can be catalysts for other businesses.