Tongaat Hulett in joint initiative to develop black maize farmers

5 August 2008

(formerly The Tongaat-Hulett Group Limited)                                     
(Registration number 1892/000610/06)                                            
Share code: TON                                                                 
ISIN ZAE000096541                                               


Tongaat Hulett further enhanced its reputation in the area of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment with the launch today of the Ithuba Farming Project, an initiative in partnership with the Buhle Farmers’ Academy. The primary objective of the project is to increase the number of competent black commercial maize farmers in South Africa.      

CEO Peter Staude says, “As an agri-processing business we acknowledge that our organisation has a meaningful role to play in land reform and skills development in our areas of operation. Our medium scale farm program has to date, resulted in the transfer of 98 farms, comprising 11 871 hectares of land, to previously disadvantaged emerging farmers. Tongaat Hulett is one of the largest buyers of maize in South Africa and the Ithuba Farming Project presented us with an ideal opportunity to assist with the development of black maize farmers and thereby ensure that the pool of farmers supplying our mills increases.”      

Tongaat Hulett established a fully equipped farm at the Kliprivier Mill one of  its starch operating facilities. The company built residential accommodation and the Ithuba Farming Project commenced operations in late 2007. Ten trainee farmers have been involved in various aspects of commercial farming including the planning and budgeting phase, soil sampling, fertilizer recommendations,  soil preparation, planter and fertilizer calibration, spraying, weed control, mechanical operations, labour activities, record keeping, repairs and general management of the farm. The Ithuba student farmers were supervised on a weekly basis by Buhle staff and they were given the opportunity to practise their  newly acquired skills under careful supervision and mentoring in a trusted  environment.  

“The partnership between Tongaat Hulett and Buhle Farmers’ Academy is excellent because it links the skills of the new farmers provided by the Academy with commercial practise of these skills on Tongaat Hulett’s land. The students have now proved themselves capable of embarking on their own agricultural enterprises and they are ready to move onto land, negotiate production loans and farm competitively in their own right”, said Buhle Farmers’ Academy director Neil de Smidt.     

Peter Staude concludes, “Tongaat Hulett continues to engage with the Department of Land Affairs both regionally and nationally, seeking to build relationships as well as an understanding of the role that the company can play in assisting the land reform process. We are committed to the upliftment of skills in the areas in which we operate and we will continue to look for  opportunities to increase the contribution that we as an organisation are  making to the benefit of all South Africans.”    

About Tongaat Hulett  

Tongaat Hulett is an agri-processing business which includes the integrated components of land management, property development and agriculture. Through its sugar and starch operations in Southern Africa, Tongaat Hulett produces a range of refined carbohydrate products from sugar cane and maize. It has  considerable expertise in downstream agricultural products, bio-fuel production and electricity cogeneration. Competition for alternative land usages is increasing rapidly. Tongaat Hulett balances the operational  requirement for cane supplies to its sugar operations with the transition to  property development.      

The Financial Mail (FM) Top Empowerment Companies (2008) publication  acknowledged Tongaat Hulett as being one of only four companies, listed on the  main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) that attained a Level  Three Contributor status. Tongaat Hulett was awarded the inaugural Alec Rogoff  Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Award, an initiative by the Durban  Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and National Empowerment Rating Agency KZN  (Pty) Ltd (NERA KZN) that seeks to recognize Broad Based Black Economic  Empowerment achievers in KwaZulu-Natal.  

08 May 2008                                                                     

INVESTEC BANK LIMITED                                                           

Date: 08/05/2008 13:45:02 Produced by the JSE SENS Department.                  

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