Pulp, paper and peanuts aren’t generally thought of together, but there’s generally an exception to every rule! That’s the case with Ms Ntombiyenkosi Mbuyazi and four other women, who started farming peanuts on a newly planted Sappi compartment close to her community at Shikishela in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal in 2018. According to Ms Mbuyazi, the project has been a resounding success:
“The women here are very proud of this project, and they have much to celebrate. With money made from planting groundnuts we can pay our children’s school fees.”
Since inception, the project has grown to include 20 farmers in the Palm Ridge project area, with Sappi making more land available and sponsoring seeds. What’s more, our Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) unit is helping participants to register the business as a co-operative. The main objective is to gain access to funding and market opportunities.
The project is just one example of how we're leveraging opportunities to provide aspiring farmers with access to land for production. It’s an important path to poverty alleviation, given the limited work opportunities for youth and women in particular in South Africa’s rural areas. Our forestry managers, community services officers and ESD department specialists are working together with partners to provide training, as well as administrative and operational support.
The project creates value for participants by providing free access to land and opportunities to generate income. For Sappi, the benefits begin in the weeds. Participants routinely weed as they plant, which saves us time and resources. It also enables us to explore new agri-business opportunities. What’s more, the roots of the peanut plants help to enrich the soil, as they have nitrogen-fixing properties. It's all shared value, in a real nutshell.