Secha Capital: Why We Invested — Cultura Fresh

Agriculture cannot be done the traditional way any more: As the effects of climate change increasingly alter our daily lives, we need to re-think what we can change in order to create a sustainable future.

Traditional agriculture is a major contributor to excess water consumption, land degradation and food waste. A growing global population coupled with declining arable land requires alternative methods to traditional land farming in order to ensure food security. In parallel, the modern consumer demands environmentally friendly produce as part of a nutritious diet.

Local hydroponic technology is the solution. Hydroponics is a soil-less method of growing produce using mineral nutrients solutions dissolved in water and pumped through a system of gutters and gullies. These pesticide-free, higher quality fruit and vegetables require 90% less water than traditional agriculture because water is recirculated instead of being lost to evaporation as in the case of traditional agriculture. This “assembly line” approach to farming results in reliable yields, minimal food waste, a fully transparent supply chain and food security.

Secha Capital invested in Cultura Fresh because hydroponics is the industrialisation of traditional agriculture. It is “food infrastructure”, not just farming. We invested to grow Cultura Fresh’s position as a market leader in the hydroponic production of iceberg lettuce and other leafy greens in the Western Cape.

The Cultura Fresh advantage is that it is capital-efficient because it maximises local, natural resources like sun, solar, and recycled water. Unlike other farmers, Cultura Fresh is “weather-agnostic” and can produce year-round.

The Cultura Fresh team has extensive technical and market knowledge. The profitable hydroponic farm supplies three of the major retailers in South Africa and they are the leading supplier of iceberg lettuce in the Western Cape. The quality and nutritional value of Cultura Fresh’s hydroponically produced vegetables is superior to traditional land farming produce and has a longer shelf life. Consequently, retailers prefer Cultura Fresh due to this quality as well as its reliable supply.

Two of Secha’s members, Seema Lalloo and Kuhle Mnisi, will work closely with the Cultura Fresh to achieve our goal of supporting the team in expanding their production capacity and extending the reach of their leafy green products as well as increasing their product line and packhouse capabilities. This will support one of Secha’s key impact goals of creating employment in South Africa.

Our shared vision is to create one of the largest hydroponic farms in South Africa to meet the growing demand for healthy, sustainably produced leafy greens and support food security in South Africa.

Investing patient capital in established South African SMEs in the missing middle. Address the management gap by joining the team.

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