Strategic [Development] Solutions

Growing skills, food and income, sustainably

Why we do it

LGS Hydroponics is a MarkData community initiative to create skills, income and healthy food for every household, in support of the communities we rely on for information about market trends. The current reality is challenging for most South Africans living in uncertain times.

  • A decade of constrained economic growth
  • Increasing inequality between rich and poor as well as youth and adult age groups
  • Greater dependency on social security systems that now outweigh the tax base
  • Legislation on land expropriation without compensation limits investment in farming activities
  • High unemployment and getting higher as COVID 19 presence remain
  • Shrinking skillset to grow own crops
  • The need to develop entrepreneurs at community level to create local opportunities
  • COVID 19, the catalyst of pending disaster if all remain the same

How does an investment in people secure the future for everyone?

Hydroponics for South Africa

  • Our climate is ideal and does not require extensive temperature control mechanisms
  • A system that can be dismantled, washed and re assembled in a day
  • One pump starts the process, gravity does the rest
  • By limiting the operational cost, revenue increases
  • Crops can be grown and harvested in cycles, yielding weekly produce
  • Crops can be grown from seeds or seedlings; the only difference is time
  • Operators are skilled in a short time (12 to 20 weeks)
  • Only 150 litres of water needed for one system per week
  • By-products such as algae can be used for compost or fodder
  • Can grow crops for home or business use, but also to sell and earn a living

After years of development and testing, we use a hydroponic system that does
not require extensive investment, is easy to scale once the knowledge is gained and a
variety of crops can be grown.

Apart from growing crops for own use or to sell, the aim is to make it sustainable in communities. This solution has a training component developed as a train-the-trainer programme. Start small! 

Not all vegetables need to be sold, they can be used for home or business consumption – replacing bought-in vegetables. Money can be made at every stage along the cycle whether part of the training facility or in the community. Return on investment is possible within 4-6 years.

“Sweat, Scale, Sell” (Pavlo Phitidis)

SWEAT: Invest in two units (6 grow beds), enough for about 100 plants (depending on type). Train one or two people for two to three growth cycles (12 to 20 weeks). Once the skills are there, scale.

SCALE: Invest in a 30m by 10m tunnel with 90 grow beds, yielding a crop of 2 300 plants. The trained staff train members of the community for two to three growth cycles. Community members rent grow beds to grow their own crops and can sell in the community.

SELL: As the skillset increases, farmers can start their own systems at home for own use or to sell. Develop market offset with facilities for traders to rent space to sell vegetables and other goods. Support community with seeds, seedlings, or start-up cash to start their own hydroponic systems.