A R3.8 million agricultural project funded and built by South32’s South Africa Energy Coal (SAEC) business has officially opened in Rietspruit, in Mpumalanga. 

The Rietspruit Agricultural Project was handed over to the Sidlasonke Co-operative and the provincial Department of Agriculture as part of SAEC’s Social and Labour Plan (SLP) investment objectives. These aim to create sustainable communities where we operate, in line with our purpose to make a difference by developing natural resources, improving people's lives now and for generations to come.  

SAEC built an office block, a cold storage building and a chicken coop, which houses 2,000 chickens. The project also includes a donation of JoJo water tanks to ensure the agricultural project gets a continuous water supply, while electricity comes from a solar energy panel system. The contribution also includes paying security officers to ensure the project is protected.  

Members of the community have received training and mentoring to equip them with relevant skills to run and manage the project now and into the future. The chickens are already settled into their new home and are laying an abundance of eggs for the community, which are sold below retail price.  

Food security can be a major challenge in the area, particularly for less privileged communities and the elderly, so this initiative will support them and boost access to food for local people.