The Emerging Farmer Initiative (EFI) has created and developed 110 black agriculturalists in Mpumalanga over the past six growing seasons who are producing over 80 hectares of Sun Cured Virginia tobacco and 330 hectares of food crops on a rotational farming basis in Jeppes Reef, Badplaas and Steynsdorp.
90 of these Black Tobacco Farmers are established in the Matsamo Tribal Trust area which is situated 94 km East South East of Nelspruit and 30km from Malelane. The growing area includes Jeppes Reef, Schoemansdal, Langeloop and Magogeni.
Over 90 tons of Sun Cured Virginia Tobacco is produced in this area as well as an estimated 1,570 tons of Maize, Beans, Cabbage and other food crops. The community has benefited tremendously through the creation of over 530 jobs in this growing area. The food crops are shared within the community, and the financial contribution from the tobacco crops has facilitated the establishment of new business ventures in the area.
15 Black Tobacco Farmers are established in the Badplaas growing area which is situated 100 km South West of Nelspruit. They grow 21 hectares of Sun Cured Virginia tobacco and 25 hectares of food crops.
45 Black Tobacco Farmers are growing 45 hectares of Sun Cured Virginia tobacco and 49 hectares of food crops in four growing areas within the province. Those areas being Elandskraal, Groblersdal, Venda, and Mookgophong. The Farmers are at various stages of establishment within the EFI incubation and Mentorship program, with the more experienced farmers working larger tracts of land.
The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) is working with British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) to re-establish tobacco as a key cash crop in the Eastern Cape.
4 Black Tobacco Farmers are working within a co-operative structure at the Katriver Irrigation Scheme at Balfour in the Amatola district to grow 10 hectares of Sun Cured Virginia and 40 hectares of food crops, including Maize, Butternut, Sweet Potato and Beans. Over 75 jobs have been created by this initiative.
5 Black Farmers on a farm near Kosi Bay in KZN have embarked on their first season of growing Sun Cured Virginia tobacco to complement the Cashew nut and Pineapple crops that they are currently growing. They have planted 5 hectares as a pilot project based on the successful results of a smaller trial during the last growing season. It is envisaged that the tobacco crop will be expanded in the next growing season.
North West Province:
Skuinsdrift is situated 114km Northwest of Rustenburg and is one of the original tobacco growing areas where the production of Sun Cured Virginia tobacco was developed. Some of the Sun Cured tobacco farmers have progressed to growing Flue Cured tobacco in this area.
12 Black Tobacco Farmers who are at various stages of development and experience, are producing 33 hectares of Flue Cured tobacco on communal land with each farmer growing his own tobacco crop. A central shared tobacco curing facility is being tested and this project aims to confirm the viability of the shared flue curing model as a more cost effective solution.