Knowledge Management Publications

Blackthorn Feloane Hydrophonics

Blackthorn made a conscious decision to revert back to the conventional way of farming.
23 August 2018

The Blackthorn hydroponics project was approved for funding by the National Development Agency ( N DA ) in February 2008. Situated in the community of Thaba Nchu , about 70 kilometres outside of Bloemfontein, the project provides employment for 14 direct beneficiaries with the aim to grow vegetables under six tunnels. The initial overall objective of the project was to establish a farming enterprise using hydroponics. An amount of R693 340, was granted to the project to achieve that purpose. Importantly, the key ingredient to farming operations was water. With the Free State being one of the driest provinces in South Africa, access to water would either make or break the project.

The project was supposed to grow marketable produce such as tomatoes and peppers. With an ability to grow these types of vegetables all year round under tulles providing a controlled environment, the success of the project was all but guaranteed. Being able to supply the local retailers with tomatoes and peppers in the winter month gave assurance of captured clientele. Vegetables produced locally could be sold at a lower price due to the absence of transportation cost.