"A childhood dream come true" with a vertical farm in Africa

At the age of nine, Josephine Favre uttered the words of her passionate dream: “When I grow up, I am going to feed Africa.” Interestingly, the little child was then thousands of miles away from her continent, Africa. 

Born in Tanzania, Josephine’s parents had moved to Geneva, when she was eight years old. This was after her father, a lawyer, got a new diplomatic job in the United Nations. However, like in every other school, there was a lot of bullying “I knew that I had to do something. The bullying fuelled my determination to succeed, and I promised myself that I would change the situation,” she says.

Today, Josephine is the president of the African Association for Vertical Farming (AAVF), an organisation with roots in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. AAVF promotes the use of vertical farming to improve food security and provide a platform for economic empowerment, especially for youth and women through innovative food production practices.

Through vertical farming, Josephine, also a self-styled human rights activist, is determined to see that each day, fewer people in Africa go to bed hungry. “I want to help my continent to leapfrog the problems of hunger and food insecurity,” she explains. It is a dream she hopes to realise through creating awareness and space for vertical farming. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which boosts plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as aquaponics, hydroponics and aeroponics.

“I realised that this technology suited Africa and that was my turning point,” she says. On the perception that vertical faming technology is expensive, Josephine says: “One can have a vertical oil barrel cut into three or four layers and used to plant various crops that can then feed the family and sell the surplus.”

Read the complete article at www.smartfarmerkenya.com.

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