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South Africa

Hydroponic rooftop farms boost Jo'burg

On a rooftop in the heart of Johannesburg, two people pick bright green spinach, tie the large leaves into neat bunches and stack them on a table overflowing with vegetables.  These, and vegetable juice cocktails of carrot and spinach, are offered to the guests who have attended the midday launch of a rooftop garden on Hillbrow’s Kotze Street. The garden is made up of two dozen rows of metal tunnels covered with shade cloth, which are raised slightly above the concrete roof. The garden uses hydroponic technology the crops are grown without soil in special water solutions. Most conventional rooftop gardens use soil in buckets or sacks, which is heavy, especially when wet.

The Kotze Street rooftop garden also recycles up to 90% of the water it uses a precious saving during a countrywide drought, which has required city residents to cut their water consumption by 15% or face rationing. The plant strains grown hydroponically mature faster than crops in other mediums, which gives the farmers a faster turnaround. Although much depends on the spacing between the rows, generally a one square metre plot can yield between four to nine kilograms of spinach per harvest.

Source: Mail & Guardian

The next big investment opportunity? Cows could outperform the JSE

You might imagine R1-million to look different. For one, you might not expect to find it in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, bellowing, eating grass and swatting bothersome flies with its tail. It has been going for only a few months but Ntuthuko Shezi’s fledgling investment company is already managing assets worth R1-million. Unusually, the assets in question are cows and they offer an annual return higher than even the JSE.  In October, serial entrepreneur Shezi launched his venture, Livestock Wealth, an online “crowd-farming” platform that allows clients to invest in cows. A potential investor anywhere can go to the site and, from photographs, select a pregnant heifer, currently priced at R11 675. Once it has been added to the online shopping cart and the terms of the investment have been agreed to, the investor needs only to punch in their card details, or transfer the amount via PayPal, to become a proud owner of a cow.

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Inspirational African Women: Julie Cassidy

They say that a business is only as good as its people, and for South African entrepreneur Julie Cassidy and her company ProFlex People, those words were the inspiration needed to create an innovative and highly flexible resourcing solution tailor-made for small businesses.

What does your company do?

ProFlex People is a new and innovative resourcing solution that provides small businesses with high quality professional services on a completely flexible, by the hour basis, at affordable rates in the areas of Human Resources and Accounting, through an easy to use, online platform. ProFlex People is a unique service that offers a flexible solution to small businesses by allowing them to choose the skills they need, for as long as they need, with no additional overheads, employment challenges or excessive rates. Our solution opens up access to a skills base not previously available to small businesses on such a flexible or affordable basis. By making it easier for businesses to access these skills we aim to improve success rates and grow this important sector within the South African economy.

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HSBC’s David Faulkner named SA’s top economist

HSBC’s David Faulkner was named SA’s Economist of the Year at the Thomson Reuters Africa summit in Cape Town on Thursday for the most accurate forecasts of 2016 economic data. Individual and teams of economists from SA and abroad were ranked according to the accuracy of their forecasts and frequency of participation in the monthly Reuters Econometer, a long-term economic survey for SA. The survey, which looks two years ahead, covers key indicators including GDP growth, consumer and producer inflation, the current account and the repo rate.

About 35 economists from banks, funds, think-tanks and other organisations took part in the competition, now in its 17th year. Previous SA Economist of the Year winners include Credit Guarantee Insurance Corporation’s Luke Doig (2015); four-time winner, the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) (2014); Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) (2013); Dennis Dykes of Nedbank (2012); and Dave Mohr of Citadel (2010).

Here are the top 10 ranking of economists:

1. HSBC, David Faulkner

2. Meganomics, Colen Garrow

3. Credit Guarantee, Luke Doig

4. KADD Capital, Elize Kruger

5. NKC African Economics, Christie Viljoen (now at KPMG)

6. Capital Economics, John Ashbourne

7. IDC, Nico Kelder

8. BER, Hugo Pienaar

9. BNP Paribas, Jeffrey Schultz

10. Barclays Africa, Peter Worthington

Source: BD Live

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