What Seawater Greenhouse is doing in Somaliland is, in many ways, a world first. It is the first seawater cooled and operated greenhouse in the Horn of Africa. It is the first integrated solar powered desalination facility in the region. It is the first, as far as we know, foreign direct investment into Somaliland by a UK company. Operating in a world of so many firsts comes with many challenges. With our partners we will continue to take on these challenges as they come in order to realise our vision of drought-independent futures in the region. Your support, whether it be through donation or simply sharing our story, would go a long way towards realizing this vision.
Your donation allows us to recruit and train new staff in Somaliland, and ensure they have all the support they need to run the greenhouse. If you would like to learn more before donating, read the note below, or do not hesitate to contact us by email or phone.
Spread the Word
Tell your friends and family about our story and mission. We want the world to know that drought need not lead to hunger in the Horn of Africa. Today we have built a humble one-hectare pilot, but tomorrow we envision a new industry of drought-proof, sustainable agriculture expanding across the region.
Seawater Greenhouse Ltd is a for-profit business. You may be wondering why we are asking for financial support from our families, friends, colleagues and others. To answer, we we would like to explain a bit about how the project is currently funded, some of the challenges we have faced in getting the pilot constructed and what exactly we plan to do with the donation proceeds.
If you watched the video on our news page, you may recall Karl, SG's Head of Business Development, explaining that "The Somaliland project is a collaborative research and development project that is joint-funded by InnovateUK". This means our funding comes partly (45%) from InnovateUK under their Agritech Catalyst Programme, and the balance (55%) is contributed by the company. The total budget for the project was agreed upon almost three years ago with IUK and, despite our best efforts, construction delays and other unforeseen challenges have led to cost overruns.
Although in many ways Somaliland is a great success story in a region mired by conflict, and a model of how democracy can work in Africa, working there comes with a unique set of obstacles for a foreign company. Our greatest hurdle related to the securing of land, which delayed our build by over three months.
Despite the delays, fees and other difficulties we forged ahead, having to re-allocate budget from the operational phase (where we are now) in order to finance logistics and construction. We experienced several knock-on effects from losing several months in our project timeline, such as having to undergo most of the build during the intensely hot and windy Berbera summer months. But we gritted our teeth, and as a team completed what we had set out to do. It has left us in a difficult situation however, which is why we are asking for your contributions to support the pilot as it becomes operational and until it can stand on its own two feet. The project is critical to demonstrating the technical and commercial viability of our system so that we can fund and develop our second phase.
Your donation will go towards:
- Operating expenses of the greenhouse. This means buying seeds, maintaining equipment and paying our staff. As mentioned, a portion of operations budget needed to be reallocated due to our construction delays.
- Recruiting and Training staff. Now that all of the hardware is in place, we now need to "build an ecosystem" around the greenhouse such that the right people and structures are in place to take the technology forward locally. To achieve this we would like to hire and train new team members in the operation and maintenance of our system to get ready for scale-up.
- International travel. A key part of the model we are implementing is that it relies on local uptake of the technology. Implementing this model, and establishing Berbera as a Hub for the technology in the region, will require a lot of initial guidance, support and travel from the UK team.
100% of proceeds will go directly towards the SG Somaliland project. Again, if you have any questions please call or write the SG Ltd office. We would love to hear from you!