In the second year after the foundation of the non-profit organisation FEED in Hamburg as well as its sister NGO FEED South Africa NPC in South Africa, the organisation has expanded and developed its sustainable projects: The fight against malnutrition of children in schools and kindergartens is still very much in the foreground. To this end, the SUNfarming Food & Energy facility in Potchefstroom in the North-West Province of South Africa trains children in the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and also medicinal herbs, which in turn are mixed into a Vitality Porridge to offer the children a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals that supports healthy development and provides energy for active participation in school lessons.
In 2022 alone, FEED has been able to provide balanced nutrition to 15,327 children at 38 schools and nurseries and 83,000 family members within a 200km radius of Potchefstroom through funds raised by private donors and integrated into the DEG project led by SUNfarming. .
After two years, the school headmasters confirm a significantly increased presence of the children in class as well as more active cooperation of the children and thus better school results. Together with the partners, FEED has thus been able to create the basis for many children to receive a good basic education at school and a strong foundation for their further educational and hopefully professional path.
Furthermore, within the framework of new training measures in sustainable agriculture for socially weak people and inhabitants of the townships around Potchefstroom, 30 women in particular were newly trained and accompanied by FEED. These women live in remote regions, mostly without a job or other income, with their families and often several children. The gardening training introduces them to the cultivation of food for their own consumption, with the aim of gradually training them to become farmers who can earn money together as cooperatives by selling their products.
In total, FEED and the DEG project provided sustainable support to 674 women in 2022.
The FEED Team Germany and South Africa would like to thank all donors for supporting these important and holistic development aid projects. Please continue to support us!FEED
The plants are spread over five sites, each equipped with a battery storage system and separate circuit for independent and reliable power supply of the main consumers, e.g. for medical care centre. The plants were built at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka and at the Centre for Atmospheric Research - National Space Research and Development Agency (CAR - NASRDA) in Abuja.
The YESPVNIGBEN research project is led by Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH and funded by BAMF. On behalf of Forschungszentrum Jülich, SUNfarming has installed the training and research facilities as dual-use concepts "Food & Energy".
In addition to supplying energy, the facilities are used for research purposes. Professors at the university report: "Unfortunately, there is no proper electricity supply in Nsukka and the rest of the country. There are frequent power outages. The duration of the outages varies, sometimes it takes days. This is why obtaining important scientific data, in addition to the supply of electricity, is so important."
Other areas of research include
- Light transmission of the modules and effects on the cultivation of vegetables and herbs
- Temperature of the modules in connection with performance and service life
- A weather station measures the environmental parameters, the data is analysed online
All systems were assembled by local teams under the guidance of SUNfarming engineers. Necessary further assembly, repair and maintenance work will be carried out independently by these trained local employees in the future. Support from Germany is guaranteed at all times. To ensure operational safety, the entire system will be evaluated via a digital monitoring platform.
With the two concepts "Eco-Solar" and "Agri-Solar", SUNfarming has set the course for project planning for solar parks on former agricultural land in 2021. "With our dual-use concept for open-space plants, we can significantly expand the biodiversity of the land in addition to producing green electricity," says SUNfarming Group CEO Thies Schrum.
The SUNfarming Eco- and Agri-Solar Systems have clear unique selling points due to bifacial glass-glass modules, an elevated substructure and a specifically developed rainwater distribution system. The dual-use concepts offered have been refined for years in some cases with sheep, bee and poultry farming (eco-solar) as well as vegetable and medicinal herb cultivation (agri-solar). "We have further developed our Food&Energy system from abroad over the years and adapted it to the German market and have thus not only created a space under the modules, but also very concrete concepts whose feasibility we have already proven. This is a huge advantage," continues Thies Schrum, CEO of the SUNfarming Group.
SUNfarming already has several hundred hectares of eco- and agri-solar plants in approval procedures in Germany and plans to roll out the concept further. "We want to make a decisive contribution to the energy transition with this and see ourselves very well positioned to do so," concludes Schrum.
The courses offered are controlled by the responsible South African authority SAQA (South African Qualification Authority). The certificates awarded at the end of a small handover ceremony represent a nationally recognized qualification that facilitates entry into the labor market.
More than 40 schools, 10,000 children and 50,000 relatives will take part in this sustainable project aimed at helping people to help themselves. 28.8 million servings of high quality, healthy Vitality Porridge developed by SUNfarming will be delivered and distributed over a period of 18 months.
„Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let us all come back together in 2022 and keep on changing people´s lives.“ wishes Melanie Jooste, Team Leader SUNfarming South Africa.
The whole SUNfarming team agrees with this wish.
German and Turkish companies used the business meeting to expand existing cooperations or to establish new contacts for future investments in Turkey. The event, which took place on 18 November at the Hilton Hotel in Adana, offered the participants interesting lectures from the German Ambassador Mr. Jürgen Schulz, AHK Turkey Managing Director Mr. Thilo Pahl, Governor of Adana, Mr. Süleyman Elban, Adana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Bora Kocaman.
In his speech, SF Eurasia A.S. Managing Director Sahin Balkan presented our successfully realised SF Food & Energy Training project in Turkey. On 16,000 sqm, renewable energy and food are produced at the same time. In the coming years, the project will enable thousands of refugees and people from the region to find training and work.
On the second day of the business meeting, the German Ambassador and a delegation visited our SF Food & Energy Training Project near the Cevdetiye refugee camp in Osmaniye. He visited the facility with great interest and informed himself about developmentally highly interesting perspectives for the region.
"The aim of the project is to train people as entrepreneurs in the organic food sector and as photovoltaic technicians for renewable energies. This food and energy training project will serve as a blueprint for further development investments in Turkey and Syria. In this way, the project helps Syria and Turkey as well," explains Sahin Balkan CEO SF Eurasia A.S..
Impressed by the excellent results of the project so far, further discussions are planned between the Embassy and SUNfarming about possible future refugee projects in Turkey.
SUNfarming Food & Energy is a PPP project in cooperation with DEG/ KfW.
(Photo from left to right: Rukiye Kara Aydin/Operations and Administration Director SF Eurasia, Sheila Stanton, Sahin Balkan/CEO SF Eurasia, Jürgen Schulz/Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Turkey, Malek Al-Hilal/Project Manager SF Eurasia A.S., embassy delegates)
This year, two further research projects were realised in Rathenow. The Jülich Research Centre analysed the plant growth of various ornamental plant species in different shaded areas. As a second research project, plant physiological parameters were investigated in a scientific set-up. The results are currently being evaluated by the Jülich Research Centre and will be published at a later date.
Two other ongoing research projects of SUNfarming are the fertiliser concentrate production from the liquid fermentation residues of the biogas plant in combination with plant production in the Food & Energy plant and the solar module cooling combined with the reuse of the heat gained for plant cultivation. The results will be published in 2022.
National and international representatives from business and politics show great interest in the forward-looking research projects and have regularly visited the Rathenow Research and Innovation Centre to learn about the projects and further planning during plant tours led by our expert staff. Among others, the Minister of Economics of Brandenburg and the Ambassador of Panama and many agricultural interest groups visited us.
The previous SUNfarming research results of the Agri-Solar plant in Rathenow show that solar energy combined with food production and valuable herbs is an ecologically highly topical issue for the coming years. Our excellent results show that valuable medicinal herbs and regionally produced vegetables can be successfully grown in our SUNfarming Agri-Solar facilities, even on sandy soils.