The Department of Science and Technology (DST) commissioned a study to investigate other sources of energy that could be used by the petrochemical industry for the production of fuels.
In 2003 a report was released that recommended it is possible to blend Biodiesel, produced from soybeans and sunflower seeds, with the current coal or crude based diesel.
The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) through its Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (SRL) division approached the DST with a proposal to using available technologies to assist black small-scale farmers as the primary producers of the crops for Biodiesel production in South Africa. MMI started at Tompi Seleka Farmers Training College in the Limpopo Province in January 2006.
To use the Biodiesel production value chain as the pathway for the integration of small scale resource poor farmers and their respective communities, in the Limpopo Province, into the agribusiness mainstream and thereby contributing towards the national imperative of poverty alleviation and creating job opportunities.
To create fully equipped sustainable SMMEs actively competing throughout the Biodiesel value chain, exploiting and attracting secure first economy markets.
To be central in the nurturing of small-scale farmers who do not have sufficient resources, by training and mentoring them into reliable commercially viable farmers who will be fully equipped to exploit business opportunities enveloped by the Biodiesel industry.
- Establishing an operational technology incubator
- Providing theoretical training in business, management and technical skills
- Providing hands-on technical skills through demonstration on the field
- Providing after-care support through mentoring and coaching
- Establishing a pilot oil extraction and Biodiesel production plant
- Facilitating the establishment of a full scale Biodiesel plant
Farmers who will partake in this initiative are only expected to produce high quality crops and will in return receive subsidised inputs, a guaranteed market and all the benefits derived from the value chain. They will in turn receive the following benefits:
- Acquisition of technical, business and management skills of Biodiesel production
- Upfront payments from the Biodiesel production plant
- Credibility, expertise in processing
- A guaranteed demand and market for Biodiesel
The incubator seeks to derive maximum benefit for the farmers by involving other role players who will guarantee the sustainability of the Biodiesel production plant. Partaking in the full Biodiesel production value chain will ensure that farmers become more profitable.