Pilot Project – Bitou




Description

There are both Agriforestry and Agroforestry opportunities for Natural Products in Bitou (Harkerville and Kranshoek).

Harkerville and the Kranshoek projects are based on a mix of food security, medicinal plants, trees and vegetables. It is envisaged that the main revenue stream will be high-value medicinal plants (natural indigenous plants) such as Cyclopia spp. (Honeybush) and Sceletium tortuosum (Kougoed).

The good quality “high-end” greens and vegetables that are produced will be sold to local restaurants. After various timeframes, different products could be harvested. These projects are ideally positioned to experiment and explore the planting of a variety of products and thus finding markets for these products.

The vision of the two projects is to sustainably grow and supply high value indigenous plants for the fast growing natural herbal market for local and international distribution. At present the potential customer base is well established. Bitou aims to supply Sceletium tortuosum, as medicinal and herbal, both of which are in high demand internationally, especially Europe.

The idea is to add value to the raw materials example: refining/agri-processing.
The current business model is based on the supply of raw materials to these fast growing markets, via established clients who have capacity for all the off take.

Project--champion

The Champions

The project champions are a committed group of people that have supported the projects throughout its inception and development. This group consists of a local NPO, The-Green-Ticket (Ms Rikke Dammann); the Local Municipality (Mr Leanard Jonas); the Ericaville Griqua community (Mr Sidney LeFleur) and the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (Mr Albert Ackhurst).

Land--secure

Community

The communities are some of the poorest in the Western Cape (Kranshoek and Harkerville communities fall under ward 7 of the Bitou Municipality) and suffer significant social ills due to poverty and joblessness.

Lack of commercial space and facilities in low income areas such as Kranshoek, and Harkeville, has hindered retail activity which has forced residents to commute. The areas are earmarked by high crime, large concentrations of poor households, high levels of unemployment, slower household income growth, limited income retention, undiversified and marginal local economies and limited private sector investment.

Bitou-2

Integrated land use

The land is owned by the Bitou Municipality (Harkerville and Kranshoek) and is zoned for agricultural use. The Kranshoek property is also zoned for agriculture, but is owned by the Community Trust.

The Bitou projects are geared towards increased value chain development, whereas it has started with generating income from raw materials (current phase). It can over the short term, develop increased value products through progressive agri-processing improvement (i.e. move from R40 per kg to R600 per kg to unto R20 000 per kg for pure Sceletium extract).

Functional--CPA

Governance

Proposed management structure and communication plan:

  1. Project Management (Steercom – Municipality / The Green Ticket / Community / Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning / Project Implementer / Landowners/ Funder).
  2. Project Implementer – Reports to Steercom.
  3. Project beneficiaries answer to Community leadership.

Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) led the planning and funding application as well as brokering the relationship between the partners being the Municipality, The Local Non Profit Organisation – The Green Ticket (TGT) and the local communities.

Main issues to date were:

  • Due to supply chain challenges the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) appointed service providers outside Bitou (from Cape Town) to implement the projects 500km away. This excluded the local Non Profit Organisation, The Green Ticket (TGT) from the management of the project reducing the local content “hands on” implementation control and transfer of skills.
  • The initial funding plan was intended for 3 years including site development; infrastructure; materials acquisition; training and phased business & entrepreneurial development, commercialisation with sustainability planning and a 5 year exit strategy for the implementers.
  • However, due to the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) model and requirements the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) programme were challenged to spend the full amount (R4.3 million) awarded to each of the two projects within the 1st year to maximise employment according to the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) model.
  • This meant that only one of the 3 phases of the project could be delivered in part (Site establishment, some infrastructure, initial plantings and some training)
  • The markets for the project have not yet been established and no deals were brokered with potential buyers.
  • Some of the products are ready for harvest and are overgrowing their nursery boxes.
  • Half of the workers have been let go from the projects as the funding for the period came to an end. However they are now elsewhere employed on road construction works.

Both projects were well established and all major infrastructure is in place. The two projects also support one another, meaning that they could trade with each other and exchange resources. An integrated zone for agro-processing is indeed possible.

During some sustainability engagements between Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) and the Municipality, it was agreed that Bitou Municipality will keep the core workers employed for another year with the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) funding.

During this period there needs to be significant strides including the following:

  • To develop the businesses (brokering the deals and commercialisation).
  • To develop the agro-processing side to enhance value of products.
  • To continue with the required business/entrepreneurial, nursery skills training.
  • To have onsite day-to-day support from local “hands on” implementer’s example. local implementer’s “The Green Ticket”.
  • To install a borehole on the Harkerville site to ensure long term water supply for the project.
Honeybush

Remaining Phases:

The 1st phase completed, and the 2nd and 3rd phases remain to be completed.

Completed phase:

  • Project Planning and appointment of Implementers (Year 1)
  • Project started 17 April 2015
  • Commencement of employment (20 April 2015)
  • Site Clearing, Construction of nurseries (May 15 to January 16)
  • Worker skills Training (January 2016 to March 2016)
  • Planting and nursery development (April to May 2016)
  • Workers retained on project through further Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) funds (Sept 2016 to Sept 2017)

Next (remaining) Phases:

  • Business development
  • Development of sustainability plans
  • Entrepreneurial and technical skills training (Year 1 & 2)
  • Implementing Agri-processing
  • Harvesting and processing (Year 1 & 2)
  • Making markets and brokering deals (Year 1 & 2)
  • Life skills and business training (Year 1 & 2)
  • Implementer Exit strategy (Year 2)
  • Socio economic assessment of project
  • Stakeholders / Roles and responsibilities
bitou-1
Existing-investment

Partners are:

  • Bitou Municipality – support the programme further, provision of land and zoning services, Beneficiary facilitation and inclusion of projects in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
  • The Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) – Funding the initial business development and sustainability plans, time and resources for facilitation of relationships, planning, funding applications and strategic guidance throughout the process.
    • The National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) / Environmental Protection & Infrastructure Programmes (EPIP) / Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) – Funding and governance employment of workers (for next year).
  • Bitou Municipality – support the programme further, provision of land and zoning services, Beneficiary facilitation and Inclusion of projects in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
  • The Ericaville Griqua community – Provide Champions, leadership land and social infrastructure.
  • The Harkerville community Development Trust – Provide Champions, leadership land and social infrastructure.
  • The Kranshoek community Development Trust – Provide Champions, leadership land and social infrastructure.
  • The Green Ticket – Implementer, management and training partner.
  • Annix – Implementer, management and training partner.
  • The Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) – time and resources for facilitation relationships, planning, funding applications and strategic guidance throughout the process.
  • Mr Anton Schnetler – Private Land Owner- provision of water services, Crèche for worker’s children and social support.
  • Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs – Funding for plans and research, guidance of technical aspects of projects.
  • National Department of Environmental Affairs – Funding through Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP) and the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Govt.-support

As part of the Extended Public Works Program (EPWP) Grant, R10 million has been invested into this project to supply infrastructure (except Bioprospecting).

bitou-3

Investor readiness

The project is based on the cooperative system and through independent SMME development, in other words, after the implementation of the three phases the intended tent businesses should be able to generate their own income and will be able to sustain the jobs developed to date. The jobs count will increase as the business volume and diversity of products grows.

Benefits of the project to date:

  • The communities were previously unemployed and through the projects about 60 people in the villages have been employed.
  • The project at Harkerville provided access to infrastructure like electricity, something they never had before.
  • In addition a pre-school was established that accommodates kids when the parents go to work.
  • The Municipality is developing a housing scheme for the area and some of the houses/shacks have been remarkably improved since the onset of the project.
Bankable--business--plan

A Bankable Business Plan has been developed and may be available on request.

Opportunity--to-invest

Opportunities

The investment opportunity is strongly vested in the ability of the projects to become viable businesses. Namely, investors may find that they can make their investment back plus eventual profits whilst also complying with their Corporate Social Responsibility or Enterprise development spend.

In this instance corporations / businesses can effectively contribute to the National agenda of environmental integrity, social development and economic development.

Corporations may gain BBBEE balanced score card points for investing in these projects. This will also ensure that corporations or businesses be more competitive in terms of government contracts. Furthermore this kind of investment will raise the company’s “green / social” profile and may even lead to tax incentives through the Section 18A tax deductions as well as the ability to claim back for training funds spent.

All organisations with a payroll of more than R500 000.00 per annum are required to pay a Skills Development Levy of 1% of that payroll and it is possible to claim up to 50% of that amount back.

Additional Opportunities:

  • Construction: Warehouse
  • Value Chain: Processing | Distributor | Agents
  • Other: Vegetable garden | Supply vegetables
Bitou-2

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