SUNfarming Food & Energy Training Centre is one of their key partners in cooperation with the North-West University in South Africa.
The North-West University (NWU) launched the Leopards Lair competition which received a large number of entries of which 12 finalists could exhibit their ideas to the public and industry partners at NWU Sethi Explosion. NWU student Kumbewe Liwewe, the founder of “Let´s Grow Together” has won the Award for best entrepreneurship/business idea.
The “Let’s Grow Together” initiative was launched by students of the North-West University (NWU) to address the issue of food insecurity on the campus by creating jobs for students in need of financial assistance.
“This is done by providing the campus of the NWU with fresh fruit and vegetables on a weekly basis. From the packing of vegetables, to the transport and delivery of vegetables “Let’s Grow Together” is able to create student jobs in everything we do. This however would not have been possible without the assistance of SUNfarming and the NWU’s Food & Energy Training Centre, who were vital to the conceptualization and initiation of “Let’s Grow Together”, said Kumbewe Liwewe.
The presence of the SUNfarming Food & Energy Training Centre creates a valuable resource for the students of the North-West University as through the presence of high quality food produced on the university campus is used to end food insecurity on the campus. This key partnership we believe will lead to the creation of at least fifty (50) on campus student jobs with the possibility of growth only limited by what is available with the existing Food & Energy infrastructure.
Video-Link: Interview with Kumbewe Liwewe
For the first time, SUNfarming has applied for an Intersolar Award, the greater the jubilation was to win the Award in the category “Outstanding Solar Projects”.
The jury was impressed by the global development potential as well as the great social benefits, including the creation of new jobs. With the aim of producing food and energy economically, while at the same time resource-saving in one and the same place, 15 agro-solar greenhouses have been built on the campus of North-West University in South Africa. The project shows how photovoltaics are integrated into agro-solar substructures of large food and energy systems. With its professional knowledge the North-West University is an indispensable, operational partner in the Food & Energy project.
The Intersolar Award: Powering the future with innovation!
In the 2017 jubilee year, 133 projects from 21 countries were sent for the coveted Intersolar Award. One of Intersolar’s goals is to promote the industry’s innovative power. For this reason the organizers award the award every year. For 10 years, the world’s largest solar energy company has offered solar companies a unique platform to demonstrate their innovative power and to stand out from the competition.
Peter Schrum, principal shareholder of SUNfarming, thanks his project partners (DEG / KfW and North-West University) and his team with a call: “To multiply Food & Energy also in other countries, we need technically savvy Senior Experts who do not want to retire and want to share their knowledge with others. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. ”
David Morr, SUNfarming Projectmanager International Projects, to the question whether the project is also a matter of heart: “This is the madness! For 5 years we are fighting for our product Food & Energy to carry it out into the world and now to receive an Award is simply top.”
Mr. Senzeni Zokwana, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa, together with a 30-member delegation, visited SUNfarming Food & Energy Project on the Campus of North-West University in Potchefstroom South Africa.
The Minister calls the SUNfarming Food & Energy Project, a joint project of SUNfarming GmbH, North-West University and DEG / KfW on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, as a future-oriented development for agriculture in South Africa.
SUNfarming Food & Energy Project allows to produce food and solar energy at the same time through unique agro-solar greenhouses. Training in food production with water-saving droplet irrigation creates sustainable jobs. The Food & Energy Project is the first of its kind in Africa and the goal of SUNfarming and the NWU is to bring this project to all universities and schools in Africa. SUNfarming and the NWU see themselves as a nucleus to support other universities in research and education with their expertise.
Councillor Kgotso Khumalo Executive Mayor for Tlokwe municipality: “I am excited about the project and the potential it has for our municipality and I want to pledge our full support to this project.”
“The project provides an opportunity to grow affordable and nutritious food in local municipalities. This is an opportunity to effectively address household food and nutrition insecurity. This is innovative technology for agriculture and we want to see this replicated in other parts of the country as it effectively deals with the issue of climate change and the scarcity of water and land”, said Minister Zokwana.
“Agriculture is the answer to many problems. We need a doctor or dentist or lawyer several times a year, but we need a farmer at least three times a day. We need to strive for sustainable methods of agricultural production. What I have seen today is the future of agriculture, I congratulate you on this incredible initiative and innovation,” so Zokwana.
This year, SUNfarming presented itself as a partner, together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), to the 400,000 trade fair visitors.
The general interest in SUNfarming as a project developer for capital investors as well as in the realization and active support of PV projects for commercial and private power plants was as always great. This year, we were able to successfully present our unique “Food & Energy” concept, a combination of solar energy production and food production. With the
experience of more than 1,000 hectares of solar projects implemented worldwide, SUNfarming developed the unique Food & Energy concept. In addition to the benefits of solar energy, the key elements are food production, job creation, training and water management. The SUNfarming “5 in 1” model contributes actively to the sustainable improvement of people’s living conditions, particularly in resource-poor areas or refugee regions.
Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller, has put more support in the refugee policy for the countries of origin and was very interested in finding out more about our Food & Energy concept.
Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, showed also great interest in cooperation in the area of Food & Energy as an approach to combating the causes of flight. There will also be concrete discussions on projects in the solar PV sector in developing and emerging countries.
The Minister of the Environment of Qatar and the Agricultural Minister of Mauritius took the opportunity to get information about possibilities of cooperating with our competent project leaders.
Madagascar’s Embassy Adviser, the Ambassador of Guatemala and the Bolivian Ambassador, as well as a delegation from the Nigerian Embassy, were also interested guests.
Representing the Embassy of Paraguay, Mr Maidana, responsible for Economic Affairs, visited us and the embassy council of the Republic of El Salvador also got to know our stand.
The already implemented Food & Energy project in South Africa was presented by SUNfarming at the public event “A world without hunger is possible”, a special initiative of the BMZ.
SUNfarming/ALENSYS and the North-West University celebrated the opening of the first Food & Energy Training Centre in South Africa.
The 12th of October was an exciting day for SUNfarming/ALENSYS and our partners. Together with more than 150 guests from all over Africa, including stakeholders from politics, business and universities, the opening session was held on the Campus of the North-West University in Potchefstroom.
After Prof Frika J van Rendsburg, Rector of the NWU cut the ribbon, the guests were invited to visit the solar green-houses accompanied by trainers, explaining the project and answering questions.
In his speech Prof LJ Grobler, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering especially emphasized the function of the NWU as a renewable research and development university towards sustainable communities. “We as a University form the basis of education and from here we can replicate it to other Universities and other regions through agreements between our university and other universities”, so Prof LJ Grobler.
“The students that have been trained here at our first and unique Food & Energy Training Centre can help us to roll out the investments to the rest of Africa. We see the cooperation with the NWU as a development nucleus for other universities and partners”, said Peter Schrum, main shareholder and founder of SUNfarming, in his speech to the audience. “The benefits for citizens and local government are endless! This project will facilitate broad base community participation with long-term ownership, sustainable Food & Energy production and job security benefits with a strong training component to those who need it most,” Schrum adds.
Interesting videos and articles published after the opening:
North-West University video: Communities to benefit from farming with the sun
Article in Bloemfontein Courant: SUNfarming Food & Energy
Article in New Age Daily Newspaper: SUNfarming initiative will provide food and energy