PRAGGIA BAMBOO PROJECT
This document promotes a rural area industrial job creation project proposed structure which has been under review by Praggia and its affiliates since 2008.
We have had exposure, at various levels, to existing bamboo research projects and we believe that our plan offers a practical solution which solves the requirement to create permanent jobs and permanent infrastructure in the rural areas.
We have constructed a project plan that needs to be costed out in order to implement the first block structure. This block will, at completion, deliver a “seed to product” block involving the; seedling process, planting, harvesting, pre processing and final product manufacture.
Each block operates as an independent business that employs permanent employees, constantly trains, improves skills development and skills transfer as well as generating subsidiary industries and small businesses which promote sustainable rural growth.
The first block in the enterprise will be fine tuned, and then rolled out to other areas where the need for rural development exists.
From our contributions to other business development initiatives in other sectors, this structure is based on experience where very successful businesses have been created using the fundamental structures, the business principles, and planned models as discussed in this document.
The constructs for the proposed Praggia bamboo project, has already been implemented and successfully run in many African countries. Our proposal has been adapted to South African conditions. However, in South Africa the bamboo projects have not delivered the same results as in Kenya and other African countries, due to lack of co-operation, government buy-in and a reluctance to invest in developing rural communities by private sector.
The Praggia project breaks the glass ceiling, and is based on practical evaluations of rural ground utilization studies, bamboo development studies, rural job creation studies and business model studies.
It is our intention to start in the Eastern Cape and to roll out this model to other selected areas after successful implementation of the first Seed to Product block.
The requirement to implement the first pre-planning phase is R 600 000.00, and will take 6 months to deliver.
(If a detailed breakdown is required, please ask your agent for the spreadsheet.)
Bamboo has been identified as a plant that can form the basis of a major new industry in countries in Africa and on other continents. There have been projects that have been running for various lengths of time in South Africa, designed to test the feasibility of the plants as well as studying the applicability of all the products that can be manufactured from bamboo.
In South Africa, we have many challenges to overcome as we develop and improve our country. We are all aware of the historic infrastructure we have inherited, the socio makeup of our complex peoples, which range from traditional rural African social structures to First world cities and their urban environments.
For some time already, Praggia and its affiliates have identified that the biggest challenges lie in the development of the rural areas.
In addition, the opportunities offered by Government to business have not had the desired effect of developing rural infrastructure. There have been some marked successes, but the existing initiatives fall far short of the infrastructure required to make a significant difference.
Our research has shown that the biggest contributor to this sluggish development of the rural infrastructure is lack of business confidence, the lack of available funding for new business development by Government and the private sector, and a general lack of motivation to promote sound rural business development.
Despite this, there are some very good examples of successful projects in the rural areas. However, not enough being is done to solve the unemployment situation in South Africa, the skills development required, and the resultant economic and socio-economic improvement that is required.
Praggia has been planning a suitable structure for the past 5 years. The initial project managers did research into the industry and analyzed the bamboo industry in South Africa. In short, the potential products that can be manufactured from bamboo make the exploitation of bamboo a very lucrative, safe and profitable industry.
Many small research projects in South Africa have been looking at the plant species, the resilience of the plants, micro farming applications, product development and infrastructure requirements. Those projects have all shown great potential, and all concerned are convinced of the potential for mass development of the bamboo industry.
However, to date, there are presently no large scale developments. It will require brave and progressive thinking people to exploit this initiative. It is a plant that has already naturalized in South Africa, is very resilient and will survive in extreme conditions, has many species variants that are able to grow in various conditions, has already proved it’s ability in that regard, is fast growing, generates oxygen at a high rate, will survive in polluted water, and is a hardy plant that has already been identified as the only plant that can be used as the base of projects like these.
This project is aimed at making a serious impact in the industry. Praggia will aggressively drive this project forward, and we believe that bamboo, as a fast growing plant, will allow us to develop the POC stage (Proof Of Concept stage) within 2 years. Even the POC stage will create a self sustaining chain that will produce marketable products for the building industry.
However, Praggia aims to roll out the “blocks” that are described in this document as a “closed” concept across many rural areas. The project is constructed in such a way that it solves many of the challenges that face our rural communities, starting with job creation.
Primarily it is designed as a business and the key fundamental factor that is required in any business to ensure survival is PROFITABILITY!!!
Accordingly, the project is designed to create profitable business chains that manufacture and market products that must sell in a competitive market. So, even though this proposal provides solutions for many rural challenges, it also envisages a sustainable base which generates profit.
Why choose Bamboo as the base raw material?
Bamboo is a plant that has proven to be extremely resilient. It grows very fast, with some species growing a meter a day, depending on availability of water. Unlike pine forests, the bamboo yields three times the tonnage that pine trees deliver on the same size of ground. It has already naturalized in South Africa, and much research has already been done by various institutions into the wide range of growing conditions and species effectiveness in those conditions. The bamboo plant has many characteristics making bamboo a resource that many countries are looking at as the solution to many requirements ranging from the production of bio-fuels to building materials.
A short list of these are:
- Fastest growing plant on land
- A relatively low capital input to start bamboo farming
- Quick, high yield production
- Many different variants available that will grow from semi-desert to waterlogged environments
- Excellent as a de-pollutant plant
- Highest yield per ton
- Shortest time between harvesting stages
- Very little attention required
- Create farming facilities in dead or polluted ground
- Can act as a water purification option – these plants are resilient and will survive and thrive in polluted water
- All bamboo plants have low penetration root systems, and must be fed water from the top. They do not affect water tables
- Is already naturalized in South Africa
Bamboo is the only plant that can be used as the basis for fast infrastructure development for projects proposed by Praggia, and attention is drawn to a well constructed research document that discusses the bamboo plant / Africa relationship:
Guidelines for Growing Bamboo; Bernard N. Kigomo; Kenya Forestry Research Institute; 2007
please link to…
Bamboo has a proven track record in Africa and in South Africa, and has been the basis for successful projects in Kenya and other African countries.
Well funded infrastructure and projects that are well established exist in countries like Kenya. The above document is a study and a guide to potential growers, based on years of practical experience gained in the projects in Kenya. These indicate that the plant itself is resilient, easy to control, non invasive, requires low maintenance, grows well in varied conditions and feeds into existing industries in those countries. Their micro industries are already self supporting, and growing as financial generators to the local populace.
However, Praggia’s proposal promotes a more formal, controlled structure. This structure will produce quality flooring, ceiling boards, pressed wood panels (used in the production of kitchen cupboards, built in clothing cupboards, shop fitting) and other products for the building industry.
The range of products that can be produced from bamboo is estimated at 800+ products, including quality cloth, industrial cloth for molded products, bamboo pressed boarding for floors and ceilings, charcoal and brickett manufacturing, pressed stripped roof tiling and many more.
The basic concept of Praggia’s pilot project is the creation of a “block” that consists of a farming component, transport component, bamboo pre-preparation component, and a factory to process prepared bamboo into pressed wooden boards and other identified basic products for the building industry.
Each “block” consists of:
- Seedling processing area (Central to that block)
- Farms growing the bamboo
- Transporting bamboo from the farms to the pre-processing plant
- Vehicle parking area
- Service centre
- Vehicle management office (on site)
- Pre-processing plant
- Factory (including)
- Admin area
- Safety control
- Planning and process control area
- Storage warehouse
- Admin building
- Training area
- Management area
- Planning department
- d. Human resources department
- e. Marketing Department
- Each factory and pre-processing plant is supplied by farms that are designed to supply its needs.
- The longest distance for bamboo to be transported to get it to the pre-processing plant is 15km
- The block (or chain) is cost managed as one business, ie: component costs of each section is controlled by the main business, and feeds into a macro strategic plan. This minimizes:
- Costs (the entire block has minimum layers of stacked profit buildup)
- Retail prices of end products (Making the end products very price competitive)
- Extra costs and control concerns with outside service providers
- Loss of flow control throughout the entire process (farm to factory)
- Minimizes management costs and maximizes management control
- Allows the development of quality products, without increasing the cost for such directives excessively
- Allows faster access to market because of quality and price competitiveness
- Creates skills development platforms as part of the processes
- Creates a culture of training amongst the workers
- Creates a platform that maximizes permanent employment, and minimizes seasonal labour requirements
- Allows for the subsidiary development of entrepreneurial independent service providers
- Feeds into the development of further product manufacturers and building projects
The first phase of the pilot project will determine the capital requirement to implement, create and operate the first block.
This pre-phase is designed to:
- Determine project costs
- Secure land required
- Secure government buy-in
- Negotiate with government for funding
- Procure private funding and development partners
- Create project documents
- Undertake presentations to all related parties
A team will be created consisting of a Facilitator (from Praggia), a contracted project manager and researcher, a liaison officer who handles the community presentations, and specialist liaison officer who handles government presentations.
The initial phase will be deliver a project plan with the buy in of the stakeholders involved.
Phase 1. This project rollout plan will take 6 months to complete, involving:
- Extensive travel between Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape
- Presentations to Government Departments
- Presentations to private interested parties
- Office rentals / operational costs (telephone/internet/postage)
- Praggia facilitator
- Project manager / researcher
- Liaison officer to the Eastern Cape community leaders
- Liaison officer to Government departments
The second phase of the project will:
- Raise the operating capital as required in the project plan
- Appoint an implementation team
- Start the project off as per the project block rollout plan
- Operate according to the guidelines set out in the project plan
- At project close, deliver a working, operational infrastructure to the management team.
The capital required for this phase, is R 600 000.00
Phase 2 (Implementation of first “block”)
Project length: 36 months implementation period.
Month 1-3 Implement seedling process
Establish training procedure (farm management & workers)
Ground preparation (farms)
Install – Water supply network
Month 6-12 Improve seedling process and seedling processing plant
Plant & bring first crops to maturity
Establish pre-processing plant
Test production process
Month 12–24 Manage and grow production network
Develop product market
Market project & products
Train all new personnel
Develop entrepreneurial subsidiary projects
Month 24-36 Manage and drive marketing processes
Improve production cycles
Manage financial processes
Assess profitability cycles (manage this)
Overall project funding requirements to be determined by the outcome in Phase 1 above.
The Praggia Bamboo project is taking existing bamboo project initiatives which have proved themselves in Africa, and modernizing the process and infrastructure.
The aim of this process is to ensure a streamlined, profitable, technically advanced business unit that is designed to be profitable, competitive and self sustaining.
Each block operates within a macro strategy, but is designed for profitability and streamlined, cost effective production.
Each block is estimated to be able to (conservatively);
- Create 500 permanent jobs
- Create 100 floating seasonal jobs
- Operate at the minimum cost
- Produce price competitive, quality products
- Break even after 5 years
- Develop rural society
- Transfer and develop skills
- Ensure operational levels are high through constant training initiatives
- Create subsidiary service providers and small businesses
- Create a business model that can be rolled out as a controlled unit
- Become significant exporter of these products
- Allow for a broader base of entrepreneurial, independent product development
As indicated, these blocks are designed to be profitable. By controlling the infrastructure costs, setup costs, operational costs, and operating at an aggressive pricing level for final products, the blocks are designed to break even and to be profitability in 5 years.
That is possible as the base product (bamboo) grows extremely fast, is resilient, will deliver harvestable plants in 12 months, and re-harvesting every 3 months on a rotational cutting harvesting procedure.
Bamboo is a wonderful product, and has a track record of delivery on all points listed in this document.
Building products last (on average) 3 times longer than soft grain pine, is not prone to water damage, is far denser in the final product makeup, and is cost effective.
Bamboo is a wonder product that Praggia has recognized as a solution to the rural challenges.
By managing the co-operative business plan, Praggia aims to present South Africa with a unique business model, aimed at profitability, job creation, market competitiveness, and Alternate Profit opportunities (APO).