Food security and agricultural development
MMG recognises the importance of food security and agricultural development to Katanga Province, where Kinsevere is located.
Kinsevere's multifaceted Agricultural Assistance Program is a long-term initiative that aims to help farmers in target communities transition from subsistence farming to the production of commercial crops.
Agronomists engaged by MMG work directly with farmers to increase yields, diversify crops and boost incomes.
Key components of the program include:
- Distribution of seed and fertiliser to eligible farmers in a micro-credit style arrangement;
- A seed generation plot on the Kinsevere mine lease to eventually reduce reliance on purchased seed;
- Monthly training and education sessions held on demonstration plots. The sessions show farmers techniques for increasing yields and diversifying crops;
- Support for the introduction of mechanisation to help farmers increase productivity; and
- A project to introduce aquaculture production to the area.
Distribution of seed and fertiliser
Local farmers at harvest time.
Each year, MMG distributes seed and fertiliser to eligible farmers from 26 villages around Kinsevere.
At the time of harvest, the farmers repay the contribution by returning a portion of their crop to Kinsevere for milling into flour. This flour is distributed to employees.
More than 600 farmers benefited from the program in 2014.
This arrangement, which draws on micro-credit and cooperative models, enables farmers to better utilise their fields and increase yields.
Working as part of the broader Agricultural Assistance Program, the aim is to support farmers to progressively increase their incomes to the point where they are no longer reliant on Kinsevere for these inputs.
Some of the approximately three tonnes of fish harvested from Kinsevere's pilot aquaculture ponds in 2014.
While fish is a preferred source of protein in the DRC, it is often not available to people in villages near Kinsevere. The majority of fish sold in Lubumbashi, the major city about 35 kilometres from Kinsevere, is also imported from neighbouring regions or countries.
Kinsevere saw aquaculture as a way to increase the availability of fish and diversify agricultural production in the area.
In 2013, the mine commenced a pilot project to understand the viability of aquaculture farming in the area. The pilot was successful, with approximately three tonnes of fish harvested from pilot ponds established within the Kinsevere mine lease during September 2014.
Kinsevere is planning to work with local farmers to develop new aquaculture ponds in the area.
Maize prior to milling.
The first seed produced from Kinsevere's pilot seed generation plot was distributed to local farmers in November 2014.
Growing and harvesting seed locally - as opposed to purchasing seed from neighbouring regions or countries - is an important next steps in supporting agricultural development in the area. The aim is for farmers to eventually manage seed production activities on their own as a cooperative - reducing reliance on the purchase and importation of seed and creating a potential new income stream.
Approximately 16 tonnes of seed, certified by the DRC's National Seed Control Service (SENASEM), was distributed to participating farmers. Crops from these seeds will be harvested in 2015.
Seed generation activities are continuing.