Mpumalanga Wheat Pilot

Mpumalanga Winter Wheat Pilot


South Africa


Product: Winter Wheat
Program Phase: Pilot
Program Partners: Glencore, International Council of Mining and Metals, The Impact Catalyst, and the Mine Water Coordinating Body


Mpumalanga is at the centre of power generation in South Africa, providing more than 80% of South Africa’s coal resources. After mining and quarrying – which accounts for 29.8% of provincial GDP – manufacturing, power generation, tourism and agriculture are the province’s other major sectors.

Local communities are highly dependent on mining operations as the primary economic driver, both directly as a source of employment and indirectly through local development and services provided.

In the coming decades, many of these mines will close, and with a population of 4.67 million people, transitioning the economy to other viable industries is of critical importance.

The Mpumalanga Winter Wheat Pilot is investigating whether remediated mine land and mine water offer sustainable livelihood opportunities for the community.


Currently, Business for Development is working with Glencore to develop smallholder farmer pilots that will prove to the local community in Mpumalanga that remediated mine land and mine water can provide sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Through careful planning, strong community engagement, meticulous agronomic training, and potential market linkage with Kellogg’s, the Pilots are working to prove the local economy can be diversified successfully. Further, the Pilot will provide an opportunity to engage the South African Government on viable post-mine economies and influence policy to facilitate regional collective action.

With its project partners, Business for Development will determine the answers to three central questions:

  • Is it feasible? Agronomically, can a commercial cash crop be grown in the region?
  • Is it desirable? Does the community want to be involved in the program and are they willing to learn new agronomic methodologies?
  • Is it viable? Can farmers produce wheat that could meet Kellogg’s requirements in terms of quality, quantity and price, and are there viable markets for by-products to improve income opportunities?

The current Pilot is running for one year, with possible extension based on its success and the interest of program partners and the community.


The Pilot will seek to assist the Mpumalanga community by:

  • Improving smallholder agriculture practices;
  • Gaining access to secure markets for its surplus produce;
  • Creating farm-based employment and introducing new processing skills; and
  • Strengthening household and community livelihoods through improved food diversity and security.

The Mpumalanga Wheat Pilot is being implemented from April to December 2021. Upon completion, a full report will be made available.

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