Sustainable energy and farming ventures tackle FAO Goals

Grant Field

Today, 16 October, is World Food Day – an initiative of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which deals with food and agricultural issues around the globe. It provides an occasion to highlight the plight of 870 million undernourished people in the world – most of whom live in remote rural areas where their main source of income is agriculture-related. With global warming and the devastating effects of climate change, this number of hungry people across the globe is likely to rise.

Climate change and agriculture have a symbiotic relationship. The impact of the earth heating up, changing weather patterns and increasing extreme weather events makes it more difficult to grow food, creating challenges for the poorest people to feed themselves. The FAO encourages everybody to take action and to do what they can to help combat climate change by changing their daily habits and making simple decisions to help preserve the earth’s natural resources.

Grant Field, the CEO of Fedgroup – an independent financial services company – echoes the vision of the FAO, stating that this is a major driver for the development of their latest investment tool, the Impact Farming app, which allows individual investors to invest directly into sustainable energy and farming initiatives.

“At Fedgroup, we are very aware of the risks associated with climate change and food production, it is our aim to drive awareness of these critical global issues and we believe in empowering as many people as possible to be self-sufficient and to do what they can to help.”

Individual investors can use the Fedgroup app to gain instant access to Impact Farming ventures where they invest directly into physical farming assets, supporting local farmers that are looking to grow their business. Investors can currently purchase a blueberry bush (R300), a beehive (R4000) or a solar panel (R5000) to start earning an income. The investor owns the assets on the farming venture they choose and earns an income from the sale of the harvest.

About the initiatives:

Solar: Individuals can become an independent power producer when they own a solar panel. Urban solar farming allows you to buy a panel installed on a commercial site like a shopping centre or an industrial unit. In Port Elizabeth Fedgroup has a licenced agreement for the power produced to feed into the national grid, while in the rest of the country the power is fed to the buildings where the panels are installed.

Bee Hives: The growing need worldwide for honey could pose a threat to the bee population if worldwide demand is not managed properly. There have been recent reports of massive honeybee losses across the world, which has helped to educate the public about the honeybee and the flower resources the honeybee needs for survival. As the crucial pollinator in agriculture, dwindling bee numbers could have adverse effects on the large demand that is posed worldwide. South Africa is currently producing only a third of the amount of honey that the local market demands. Impact Farming investors now have the opportunity to contribute to the increased supply of honey at a relatively competitive price. The honey will be sold locally with a fully audited supply chain. Aside from the honey production, beekeeping and pollination (a by-product of beekeeping) is an essential enabler of the agricultural industry as the pollination services that are provided by beekeepers can increase the yields of certain crops by upwards of 50%!

Blueberries: As a “superfood” with a number of health benefits, the berries are in high demand in both local and international markets. Fedgroup’s farming partner, United Exports utilises water-wise methods to grow the berries under mesh tunnels to protect bushes from hail and adverse weather conditions. The Impact Farming venture has partnered with a local supplier of a resilient varietal of blueberry bushes known as OzBlu. The berries are sweeter and last longer.

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