Photo: Mr. Isaac and Ambassador Lenk with some of the farmers
One of the newest projects taking place is at a secondary school campus. We met with the principal of the school who cannot wait for greenhouse tunnels to be erected. Having the new greenhouses on their campus will not only give the school some extra income, it will provide locally grown healthy food for the pupils, and most importantly, an awesome learning opportunity for the students!
On Tuesday, August 20th, the Embassy’s Agricultural Consultant and representative of MASHAV Isaac Isaac travelled with Ambassador Lenk to see some of the incredible Israeli agricultural projects that are taking place here in South Africa and to meet local farmers and have a peak at the successes they have gained from their current partnerships with Israel.
In one day, we travelled near and far; from Benoni to Rustenburg; to see how Israeli techniques in agriculture and Israeli-made drip irrigation systems can help to improve farming in South Africa by increasing crop yields and the quality of the crops.
Some of the projects we visited have been established for several years now, with impressive results in terms of yield – we saw rows and rows of tomatoes, spinach, cabbage and beetroots.
Photo: Spinach in one of the already existing greenhouse tunnel projects
One of the newest ventures is still in very early planning. All you can see is a yellow patch of land next to a school. It is what this yellow piece of land will become and its meaning for the community that is really exciting.
In collaboration with the Peermont group, The Embassy has helped support a local co-op of farmers and work with the school to utilize this piece of land. Using Israeli expertise, the famers will soon erect a series of greenhouse tunnels for the purpose of planting produce. Produce will be planted, fed and cared for using advanced Israeli drip-irrigation systems and Israeli farming methods and this now yellow piece of land will be transformed into a green field of growing crops.
The vegetables will be harvested with some being used to feed the schoolchildren with the rest being sold at market for profit for the rest of the co-op. In addition, the whole project will become a living classroom and laboratory for the students to learn about the amazing possibilities for farming and growing crops in areas they previously would have thought of as useless land. As the produce is then sold, business classes will follow giving these students healthy food and valuable skills.
The Principal of the school is excited and cannot wait to get started, and hopes that this pilot initiative will serve as a greater example of what can be done in other schools and communities around the country.
We are all very excited about this project, and look forward to sharing its progress over the coming months and years.