SUNfarming Vitality Porridge and Trainings for Africa

The project started in September 2020 and immediately brought desperately needed relief by distributing 231,900 servings over the first 6 days. The project’s short-term aim is to provide schoolchildren and their families with vitality-enhancing food (SUNfarming Vitality Booster Porridge). Vitality Porridge not only contains powerful vitamins and nutrients, but also supports the body’s defenses through the medicinal herbs it contains, such as mugwort, turmeric or ginger. The project, has a strong focus on sustainability and helping people to help themselves. This medium- to long-term aim of the project provides certified training courses to people in need. These courses teach teachers, family members of the school children and other people who have lost their jobs theoretical and practical knowledge about organic vegetable growing and healthy eating.

SUNfarming Vitality Porridge Project in South Africa is a PPP project and is funded by KfW/DEG. The project is supported in the organization by develoPPP, June & Andrew Mlangeni Foundation, german cooperation, F.E.E.D. (Food-Energy-Education-Development e.V.).

Multiple award-winning SUNfarming Training Centers
More than 1,000 training courses have been held since 2013 at the SF Solar Training Center and SF Food & Energy Training Center for participants from all over Africa. With the help of KfW/DEG, SUNfarming / Alensys successfully implemented the Solar Training Center at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, as part of a PPP Public Private Partnership Program in 2013. In 2015 the solar training center was expanded by 15 agro-solar greenhouses to become the SF Food & Energy Training Center. The training centers, which are constantly being expanded even after the funding period has expired, are in full-time operation and, in addition to solar power for the Campus, also supply fresh vegetables to the North-West University Campus, a grocery store in Potchefstroom (Pick & Pay) and several catering facilities.

Fresh vegetables are important for a healthy diet, but people often lack the opportunities to grow them, the money to buy them or the firewood to prepare them. Together with our technical business partners in South Africa, we have developed a vitality-strengthening grain-based dry food (Vitality Porridge). Vitality Porridge not only increases performance, but also contains medicinal herbs from our own cultivation that are known for their positive effects on health. The Vitality Porridge Project offers immediate help against hunger and malnutrition. The project also provides sustainable help through the certified training courses in vegetable growing and healthy eating. These courses are presented to the local population – specifically to people who are without work. Labor is required for food production including in the Food & Energy centers. Accredited Agri-SETA trainers in organic vegetable cultivation provided by SUNfarming South Africa take on the training of these workers. In this way, we are creating new jobs. Our trainees are much better equipped to find work in the agricultural sector after they have completed our training courses.

The courses offered in vegetable growing and healthy eating are controlled by the South African authority SAQA (South African Qualification Authority). The certificates awarded at the end represent a nationally recognized qualification which facilitates entry into the labor market.

The first training took place on September 14th in the local parish. The parishes support the project comprehensively by scouting participants and by providing parish gardens for the practical training. As a result, the church garden should continue to be cultivated by community members and serve as a source of food for the poorest.

So far, over 20 schools with over 10,000 students and a minimum of 60,000 family members have taken part in the project. Up to 300 people who have become unemployed will be trained in the training program. The project offers the 60 best candidates (possible future entrepreneurs) further training on the agricultural property provided by SUNfarming in Potchefstroom. As a licensed SUNfarming franchiser, the majority of them should help to supply supermarkets with organic vegetables and herbs.

Theoretical and practical training includes everything that is necessary for a successful harvest, from soil preparation to sowing, irrigation and pest control. The gardens laid out by the first group are expanded and maintained by subsequent groups. In the course of the growing season, the following groups can learn pest control and pruning in practice. All trainees receive a file with the training material. On the last day of the course, each trainee receives the nationally recognized training certificate from the SAQA (South African Qualification Authority) for successful participation in a small handover ceremony.

As an immediate aid, Vitality Porridge will be distributed to school children as a daily vitamin and nutrient-rich supplement to school meals during the project period. In addition, the children receive a 5 kg bag to take home for their families. Since there are often not enough plates in schools, the Vitality Porridge can also be diluted and consumed more like a milkshake. The children love it all the more because they say it tastes like a vanilla shake.

The course participants can also take a 5kg bag of Vitality Porridge home with them. The joy is great, so is the need. Many ask whether further donations and training can be expected.The school programs supported by KfW/DEG are intended to tackle malnutrition, one of the biggest development problems in African countries, at the root. Through training courses directly in the production facilities and in cooperation with the parishes, jobs and sustainable future prospects are created for the people in Africa.

“The medicinal herbs for Vitality Porridge are already being grown, dried and bottled by trainees as multiple cultures (intercropping) together with various types of vegetables in our Food & Energy Training Centers. The extruders provided on the Food & Energy systems for the production of Vitality Porridge have been technically enlarged so that they can produce up to 200,000 food servings per day, ”explains Peter Schrum, SUNfarming founder and main shareholder.

“We would like to express our thanks to KfW/DEG without their support we would not have been able to implement the emergency food aid and training programs in the Vitality Porridge Project,” continues Peter Schrum.

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