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South Africa: Case study on Touws River Commercial Hydroponic Farm

Knowledge Pele, the socio-economic development arm of the Pele Energy Group, focused on infrastructure-led development, both develops and invests in industrial and social infrastructure in rural and peri-urban areas to create economically viable communities.

The infrastructure serves as an anchor asset to these communities and unlocks the potential for local economic development throughout the project phase. From project inception with direct job creation during the construction and operation of the infrastructure and indirect job and further wealth creation opportunities through extensive SITA-accredited skills training and enterprise development.

In 2021, KPI developed the Touwsrivier Commercial Hydroponics Farm (TCHF), intending to create sustainable employment in the community of Touwsrivier.

The development of TCHF was possible through an R5-million grant fund provided by Investec Bank. Touwsrivier is the host community of the 36MW REIPPPP solar power plant. The project life cycle of solar projects does not allow a large number of long-term jobs post-construction phase. The need addressed by TCHF in Touwsrivier allows for considerable job creation and community ownership using the vehicle of the Touwsrivier Solar Community Trust (TSCT), in which 50% of equity is held by the community. Thus, providing an impactful social return on investment for the community coupled with financial income that seeks to uplift households.

The farm initially employed 19 people from the community of Touwsrivier, of which 12 were permanently employed. For the first year, the farm workers under 35 were paid by Investec’s Youth Employment Service (YES) program.

Read the entire article at Green Economy Media

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