The African Association for Vertical Farming (AAVF) recently held its launch and inaugural conference for vertical farming in Africa at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus. The conference spanned three days and featured speakers, workshops and site visits to vertical farming enterprises.
The programme line-up included Dr Naudé Malan from UJ’s Anthropology and Development Studies department, Josephine Favre, president of AAVF, Veronica Shangali Aswani, co-founder of WavuNow and official AAVF representative in South Africa, Thendo Ratshitanga, head of agriculture at Simeka Capital Holdings, and Zandile Kumalo, director of HyHarvest (Pty) Ltd.
According to Josephine Favre, the AAVF is not just another non-profit organisation. They are in fact building a network of individuals, organisations and research institutions in Africa’s urban agriculture sector, and providing a digital platform that connects all stakeholders, helping to enhance coordination and collective action within the industry.
“Our members will be able to organise their efforts, collaborate to overcome problems and form partnerships that will drive individual success and move the industry forward sustainably,” she said.
Food security and sustainability was without a doubt the topic of the day, with many speakers addressing it during their presentations. However, no one was fooled into thinking that vertical farming is the solution to food security. Ratshitanga did however emphasise that it offers an opportunity for people to take charge of their food requirements by growing their own food.