- Measurable community impact includes 50,000 jobs and skills for locals by year 10.
- As much as 200,000 ha to be planted by 2032.
Climate-smart multi-national, TERRAGRN, is leading the charge against climate change by turning up to 200,000 hectares (ha) of unused land in coal mining-centred Mpumalanga, South Africa, into a $2.6 billion sustainable land management agroforestry project, over the next 10 years.
TERRAGRN’s vision is to deliver community-centric, nature-based solutions that provide sustainability, jobs, food security, and alternative power solutions that will drive an energy transition in South Africa, and ultimately further afield, into other parts of Africa.
The overall solution in Mpumalanga ticks all the boxes of climate resilience, community empowerment and economic growth. This is being achieved by way of an innovative model that consists of an integrated agroforestry system designed with commercialised plants to assist in growing and harvesting sustainable, non-invasive, bamboo, as well as a productive food forest – both of which will significantly boost the conservation of the local natural habitat.
The $2.6 billion impact investment will take place through multi-phased financing, over ten years, aligned with the forest’s development and expansion.
The time is right for a significant project like this in Mpumalanga, where the pressure is mounting for the province, and South Africa, to diversify energy supply with renewables, and pave the way for a future beyond coal.
“Because Africa’s biggest problems of poverty, climate, food- and energy-insecurity are interconnected, we realised that it was essential to ensure that our model was designed to limit the worst effects across all of these in a holistic way, while driving positive change and opening the door to exciting growth opportunities,” says CEO of TERRAGRN, Sundar Bharadwaj.
“Part of these growth opportunities, of course, means that community involvement is key. In addition to the wide-ranging challenges being addressed through the project, it is important to note that the socio-economic benefits for the local community are vast – more than 50,000 jobs will be created over the next 10 years.”
In a broader context, Bharadwaj says, “The transition to the green economy creates opportunities such as our flagship project, based on an innovative model – that is already being accepted in South Africa – that will deliver energy, materials and food solutions for multiple business sectors and create an open-source blueprint for replicating this model anywhere else in the world.”
“We are excited about what the future holds in terms of making a tangible, meaningful and sustainable impact in the province, the country, and ultimately expanding well beyond this – in a longer-term drive to secure our planet’s future,” concludes Bharadwaj.