Emerging Hydroponics Farmers Commercialisation Programme– Championed by Invest Buffalo City (Drayton Brown) and Hydrogro (Herb Denison- Farrar). The project team has secured a letter of intent from the customer for 6 000 tons of indigo tomatoes and 100 tons of hemp seed.
A business plan has been developed for the indigo tomatoes.
The major challenge that this project faces is the lack of funding support to run a pilot for the emerging hydroponic farmers to fill this demand. A concept was developed called the “the community hydroponics commercial readiness programme”. This programme would provide the managerial, financial and technical support needed to incubate these farmers to meet the demand in a competitive manner.
Through this project, the project team has forged an accord with. A KZN based flori culture supplier to Pick n Pay is seeking to partner with local hydroponics farmers to supply into the newly negotiated national contract for high value crops.
Buffalo City Metro has allocated R4-m for assisting emerging farmers, and it also has a database of emerging Hydroponic Framers which it presently supports but their farms are not fully functional nor are they technically proficient in production of such high value crops.
These farmers would be the beneficiaries of the proposed pilot project. The intention is to run two pilots with total of 2 HA initially and expand from there once a resilient and proven support system has been implemented.
AIM continuous to lobby entities such as BCMM, DRDAR and others for support to initiate and implement the pilot, but progress is extremely slow and frustrating.