Since the term ‘crowdsourcing’ was coined by journalist and Wired contributing editor Jeff Howe in 1996 to describe “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers” (Merriam-Webster), it has expanded and manifested in multiple ways.
There is crowdfunding, crowdauditing, crowdjobbing, crowdwisdom, crowdcare and crowdcuration, amongst others. Within the crowdfunding space, there have also been various methods, with the explosion of crowdfundng sites like Kickstarter, Thundafund and the like. Crowdfunding is defined as “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” (Wikipedia)
Fedgroup, with its Impact Farming Ventures, seems to have found a gap between crowdfunding agricultural projects – in particular within the solar, honey and blueberry areas – and creating investment opportunities that are accessible. All while ensuring that renewable energies and more efficient farming helps drive development in the country. At the same time, it provides anyone with the opportunity to generate some side revenue in a manner that is simple and painless.
Investing and being able to, therefore, generate some annuity income, is often something that we all feel we should do but the barriers to entry, even just from an understanding perspective, are high. Fedgroup has streamlined this process by selecting the three key areas, partnering with organisations that do that actual farming, and, through your investment, investing in these organisations.
It is all driven through the Fedgroup app. You purchase a solar panel, a beehive or a blueberry bush, for each of which there is a breakdown of the projected annual returns, average annual cashflow, lifetime cashflow, performance forecast and projected cashflow. For example, from a projected cashflow perspective, solar panels produce income monthly, a blueberry bush twice a year in February and December and a beehive twice a year in March and October. A solar panel costs R5000, a beehive R4000 and a blueberry bush R300. I have a solar panel and a blueberry bush in my portfolio. The solar panel has a 20-year life and I have currently earned R37 in about 2 months which is a 5% return. These returns are projected to climb each year.
Obviously, it is still early in the journey and I am no expert when it comes to these things but, if there is one thing I love, is creative ways of ensuring that there is something for the future. And its impact is not just on the farms themselves but the community around them. For example, I dig this story about Brylin Learning Centre in Port Elizabeth which has rented out its roof space for the installation of solar panels. This then allows them to generate renewable energy which can be sold into the Mandela Bay municipality to create revenue for the school.
For solar, Fedgroup has partnered with Emergent Energy, “an expert in grid-tied and off-grid renewable energy systems, sustainable building design, industrial and commercial energy efficiency and international and local renewable energy policies.”
As with all investments, this isn’t a short-term exercise for me and I am also looking to acquire a couple more assets for my kids. Plus, with all the attention around honey production in South Africa and the challenges that we face, it makes sense to get some beehives, at least for me. All in all, Impact Farming Ventures is an interesting prospect if you are looking to both invest as well as have an impact on the country.
For more information on the different considerations, click Fedgroup Content Hub.