Business for Development (B4D), a Nominee for Best Innovation in Corporate Social Development 2022 Africa Award

By Sarah Siva | 24 August 2022

Initiative: Winter Wheat Pilot, a project to test small-scale agriculture development opportunities using mine-affected water and rehabilitated land

  • Business for Development (B4D) enables mining and resource companies to achieve sustainable social and economic outcomes and leave a lasting positive legacy in some of the world’s most remote communities.
  • B4D – together with its partners – executed a pilot at Wonderfontein Colliery in Mpumalanga, South Africa to test the performance of remediated mine land and mine-affected water for agriculture using both modern and smallholder farming techniques. Results included:
    • Quantitative outcomes demonstrated crops using rehabilitated land and mine-affected water achieved higher yields and with appropriate practices is a potential viable option for mine closure.
    • The mine-affected water and rehabilitated land had the desired zinc properties for fortified foods. Further trials are required to test variable inputs (seed genetics and fertilisers) to achieve optimum zinc levels in crops.
    • Precision agriculture is essential to success on marginal soils, or where water qualities are poor.
  • To investigate market viability, B4D engaged Kellogg’s and Startwell Foods to be the buyer of the wheat if it was proven to meet key health standards. With the success of the pilot, both organisations have confirmed their commitment as a project partner for future pilots and potential programs.
  • Returning rehabilitated mine land to smallholder farmers, and/or former mining employees, to be used in agriculture can improve food security and provide economic opportunities for local communities.