PEETS- eLogistic Solutions for Urban Farming

PEETS- eLogistic Solutions for Urban Farming
Minor International Entrepreneurship & Development 2017

Johannesburg, South Africa

Tom Hoefnagel
Nienke Meijer
Marleen Broekman

We, Nienke, Marleen and Tom are going to Johannesburg, South Africa to stimulate sustainable agriculture within Johannesburg. In South Africa we will work for PEETS (Process Energy and Environment Technology Station), a technology station which was established in 2010. PEETS has as primary mandate to contribute towards improving the competitiveness of industry through the application of specialized knowledge, technology and facilitating the interaction between industry and the academy in order to enable innovation. PEETS is currently working on a Urban Farming project. In many places in and around the city of Johannesburg small-scale agriculture is taking place, rooftops, greenhouses, etc. It is always an important issue how to find customers, especially big customers, for vegetables produced on a small scale. All the vegetables should be of the same quality standard. Big customers, like hospitals, restaurants, supermarkets need to be connected and involved. A big issue for the urban farmers is transportation. This transportation should bring the vegetables in small amounts to a central storage place from where the customers can get it. Smallholder farmers who may not be able to afford a car, might be helped by the introduction of an e-vehicle. An application can bring the information from producers and the demand from consumers together.

The stay in Johannesburg will last three months, in which we will have the following objective; Stimulate sustainable agriculture within Johannesburg on an enterprise level. Although our project will be on behalf of PEETS, we will also work together with other institutions and companies. Our objective can be divided into the following sub-goals;

  •  Performing logistic mapping of the current state of urban farming in Johannesburg
  • Perform logistic mapping of the current needs for urban farming produce
  • Connect urban farmers and large scale consumers (LSCs)

NB! By large scale consumers we mean e.g. Hospitals, schools, restaurants

Research Question
How could one improve and increase sustainable agriculture in Johannesburg on an enterprise level?
This research question can be divided into multiple sub-questions:

  • How can urban farmers get access to local markets?
  • How can large scale consumers (LSCs) get access to local markets?
  • Are farmers interested to sell their crops, instead of private use?
  • Are farmers able to deliver a constant supply?
  • What is the quality of the products? Good enough for the consumers?

Research Methods
During our project we need to know a lot about the needs and willings of the farmers to convince them of the benefits of selling their crops. Furthermore we need to know the willings and criteria of the large scale consumers, if they are interested in buying the locally produced crops. This information we will be collected by interviewing the farmers and the large scale consumers during our first few weeks in Johannesburg, this is our market research.

To learn more about urban farming and urban farming specific in Johannesburg we will use a literature study and market research as a research methods. The knowledge we will collect, can we use with how to facilitate more urban farming and  how we can help the farmers to set up their own business.

Our main end product will be a requirements report for the application. Since this not an concrete end product this will be evaluated using the MoSCoW method, to clarify the limits and requirements of the report.

MUST overview of all the locations of the urban farms & overview of all the sustainable minded stores. SHOULD overview of the willingness of both the urban farmers and sustainable minded stores for a sustainable way of transport

COULD quality check of the urban farming products

WOULD overview of the effects of the market research on the youth unemployment

Our research method is divided into three phases;

  1. Stakeholders During this phase we will create and verify our stakeholder analysis. As we have to deal with many stakeholders keeping an overview is important.
  2. Research During this phase we are interviewing all the stakeholders and analyze all the data which is available.
  3. Execution In this phase we will write both the feasibility as well as the requirement report.

The project has multiple stakeholders, which makes the project both existing but complicated. One of the main stakeholders is PEETS, the technology station funded by the university of Johannesburg & the government. PEETS wants to find an sustainable way of transport for the crops. Furthermore the SOASO has to be mentioned as a stakeholder, since this organization provides the certificates for the quality of the produced urban farming crops. Furthermore the organization Harambee is involved in the project, as they have as main goal to provide jobs for the youth, which can easily implemented in our project. As final stakeholder Khula is of main interest. Khula is an already existing application which connects the urban farmers of Johannesburg.

The team consists of Marleen, Nienke & Tom. All with a different background; Technology, Policy & Management, Nutrition & Health and an engineer (Mechatronics) creates a diverse team with all types of expertise and knowledge. The team will come up with innovative ways to tackle the project, thereby fulfil the project as successful as possible.

This section provides a brief overview of the eMobility project in Johannesburg the past three months. The document will discuss both the results and the possibilities for future research.

As first result, one has to look at the first three weeks. As the project was very broad, an easy overview of the project should have been created. The students drawn for this overview a mind map. This mind map is giving an easy view of all the topics and relations of the current situation in Urban farming.

The second result is the survey the students created by meeting different stakeholders and involving their opinions and experience. As mentioned in the last document the students should launch this survey in the ReseachGo application, although this did not happen due financial issues. But the students did make the survey and this can be seen as deliverable for further research.

As third result, the students created a stakeholder overview. This can come in handy for further research. The overview contains all the names, functions, the purpose you can contact the stakeholder for and the contact details.

As fourth result the students created a case study after a few Urban farm visits in Soweto. This case study includes an Excel sheet with all the cost and profits for the situation with the four Urban farms we visited. The case study includes an example of one fixed selling point and a cycling route between the urban farms. Looking at all the costs and profits the bike can be paid back in one year if the cyclist pays 50% of the made profit back to the investor in the first year. After the first year only 10% will be given to the investor for the opportunity to implement more food bikes. After all, the situation looks very profitable and the University of Johannesburg will proceed the eMobility project.

This project created a lot of further research opportunities. These will be mentioned in the next paragraphs.

First should be looked into the market research for the customers. As the project the last three months was focused on the transportation for the Urban farmers research for the other side is also needed.

Secondly, the focusing on other locations like the CBD. As the case study took place in Soweto other places should be looked into as well.

As third should be looked into the need of processing. Will there be more traction when processed food is available? Like salads or juices.

Lastly, upscaling the transport of the fresh vegetables. As for now there was only focus on Soweto, more neighborhoods should be included, also can be looked into the already existing Agri hubs as warehouse or process place.

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