Aeroponics Farming Pilot Project

Opportunity Snapshot

  • Country: Namibia Namibia
  • Industry: Agriculture
  • Stage: Start-up
  • Investment size: $312,500 / min. $187,500

Investment Opportunity

Aeroponics Farming Namibia CC wishes to establish a commercial fruit, vegetables and cut-flowers project by using an aeroponics farming system. We envisage to start a pilot project in January 2012 depending on acquiring funding. The owners of the business/project do not have funds to invest into the project; therefore they would rely on investor funds.

Aeroponics Farming Namibia CC is a newly registered business in Windhoek, Namibia. The business is owned by Drusilla and Craig Anuszkiewiez, with equal shareholding. Through this business we wish to establish a commercial farming project on Groot Aub, a communal village which is about 40km south of Windhoek (capital of Namibia).

Aeroponics Farming Namibia CC wishes to establish a commercial fruit, vegetables and cut-flowers project by using an aeroponics farming system and negotiations for a plot of land to operate the commercial project from is underway. An aeroponic system is unlike the conventional soil-farming widely known in Namibia and lends itself to several advantages in comparison to soil-farming. Aeroponic growing is considered to be safe and ecologically friendly for producing natural, healthy plants and crops and when used commercially, aeroponics uses one-tenth of the water otherwise necessary to grow the crop. The main ecological advantage of aeroponics therefore is the conservation of water and energy.

We will make use of a solar plant to provide the project with electricity and a solar powered water pump for the water needed in the project. In a country as arid as Namibia we, the owners of Aeroponics Farming Namibia CC, want to seize this opportunity to produce fruit, vegetables and cut-flowers for the Namibian market and exportation at a later stage, while contributing to social and economic development of the community in which our project operates.

Namibia imports 80% of its fruit and vegetables from countries such as South Africa and Aeroponics Farming Namibia CC is established to produce, through the farming project, a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and strawberries using an aeroponic system.

The mission of the project is:

• to produce high quality, nutritional, and flavourful vegetables, fruit and cut-flowers for consumption in both local and later international markets;
• to create opportunities for leadership and highly productive teamwork for local people who work on the farm; and
• to ensure economic empowerment for the employees of project (with future profit sharing for employees as a main objective).

The vision of the project is:

• to become a major role player in the agricultural sector by contributing expertise, knowledge and quality products through ecologically sound business practices.

The project will create jobs to over 40 people from the village. This will lead to economic development of the village and the country as a whole.

We do acknowledge that this project requires specialized skills; therefore, qualified senior staff in particular the Operations & Production Manager and/or consultants will be employed. This project will be huge in employment creation for the Namibian societies in which it operates and for economic development for the country as a whole.

The project will be set-up in two phases:

Phase 1: The establishment of a Pilot Project
The pilot project will offer employment to at least 10 people. The plan is to operate the pilot project for a year and phase it out during the establishment of the commercial project. The pilot project will also serve as a test centre for the commercial project, where we will have the opportunity to correct errors in production as and when they occur. Employees of the pilot project will be incorporated into the full commercial project.

We will involve/employ young adults between 20 and 30 years of age in the project. Not only will this be an employment creation opportunity for people of the village, but it will result in empowerment of the youth and social and economic development of the village.

Phase 2: The establishment of the Commercial Project
The commercial project will employ at least 40 people that will include Farmers & Packers, Farming Technicians, Drivers, Farming, Storage and Packing Supervisor, Operations & Production Manager, an Administrative Assistant as well as the Executive Staff. Development and growth of the project includes various other types of growing systems for other types of fruit and vegetables as well as branching into animal growing systems.

The project’s social responsibility towards the residents of the village would include the establishment of an educational trust fund. The objectives of the trust fund would be:
• to enable/assist children from the community to complete senior secondary school and to take on tertiary education;
• the establishment of a resource centre that will house a library and ICT facilities;
• supporting local sports clubs/teams financially and in-kind to enable them to compete with other clubs/teams;
• assisting in equipping and developing pre-schools; and
• assisting initiatives spearheaded by women from the community, e.g. arts & crafts projects.

One of our major strengths is water saving an aeroponic system brings on, while production is all year round. Set-up capital is the main weakness of the project as neither of the owners have their own funds to invest in the set-up of the project. The project will use renewable/solar energy for its electricity and water pumping needs. Farming through an aeroponics system set the standard for the agricultural sector to move into a new eco-friendly way of producing fruit, vegetables, flowers, etc. for the country and for exportation.

The financial projections indicate that N$2,500,000 (with a full-time CEO) is needed to set-up and run the pilot project. This amount could be reduced if the CEO is employed part-time. The Operations & Production Manager will be in charge of the production and is therefore critical to be employed full-time.

As per the cycle of production, the first crop can be harvested after three months. These products will be set-off on a consignment basis in local grocery stores. We already contacted a few stores regarding this. We are also planning to rent a fixed stall in the Post Street Mall (from the Windhoek Municipality) where our produce will be sold. The income generated in the pilot project will be used towards:
• first of all, to cover the expenses of running the stall. Other expenses to be covered, if income allows, would be:
• as project contribution to secure a loan for the commercial project
• the cost of employing a Business Consultant to finalise the business plan for the full project; and
• for marketing incentives for the project.

We are considering running the pilot project in Windhoek, as much more planning is required if we operate the pilot project on the farm. This is however not impossible. We have identified a site/warehouse in Windhoek from which we can operate the pilot project which we will slowly phase into the commercial project. The systems/equipment used in production are mobile and can therefore also easily be moved to the village and incorporated into the commercial project.

Since the pilot project will operate as a test centre we are looking would like to obtain a grant for the set-up and operation of the pilot project amounting to N$2,500,000.

Competitive Advantage

We would be producing fruit and vegetables all year round and not only seasonal.

Mass production will lower our price in comparison to our competitors.

We do not need to consider huge amounts of transport and import costs as we would produce our products locally.

Rationale for the deal

This is an opportunity for our country to become self-sufficient in the production of basic foods. It creates an opportunity for exportation to neighbouring countries

Use of financing

Financing will be used for:
• Operational cost
• Equipment
• Staffing

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