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Planting the future

How BCC and Vegtech Netafim are reforesting Africa

The seed of a giant story

At Vegtech Netafim, we believe in using our expertise in precision farming and agricultural engineering to aid global projects working towards a greener future. We recently partnered with BCC, a Swedish company known for its innovative propagation systems, on a project in Gabon.  

The aim: to grow and deliver 2.5 million plants within a six-month planting window.

This project goes beyond a commercial plantation. It also envisions the restoration of indigenous forests and growing vegetable seedlings for neighbouring communities. The large-scale impact of these initiatives on local communities is profound, especially in terms of job creation.

As we prepare for the final handover of our first project with BCC, we reminisce on how it all began - how an ambitious ecological endeavour has grown from a small idea to a viable, global solution for meeting ESG regulations, offsetting carbon emissions, and giving life to a greener, healthier planet. 

BCC - Plant the planet!

Based in Sweden, BCC is an industry-leading organisation specialising in propagation systems for the forestry sector. BCC has made significant contributions to sustainable forestry, notably through their patented FiberCell technology that enables rapid, large-scale tree planting. 

This technology, refined over the last decade, replaces traditional plastic inserts for containerised forest nurseries with degradable paper cells. Combined with a well-designed holder providing ample air flow, the FiberCell system ensures a robust and well-developed root system, abundant in biomass and is ideal for cultivating resilient saplings that can flourish in harsh conditions. FiberCell has gained significant traction in Southeast Asia and South America and is now regarded as the industry standard for paper-grown seedlings. 

In their pursuit to contribute tangible, sustainable solutions, BCC has created a unique reforestation product that enables corporations to offset their carbon emissions by investing in reforestation projects across Africa. 

Vegtech Netafim's role in this amazing project

Reforestation is a long-term project, taking up to 20 years for trees to reach full maturity. So it’s important to get the basics right by ensuring an optimal and controlled growing environment to successfully nurture seedlings into strong saplings.  

Our team engineered a nursery of almost 10,000m2 divided into 5 independent growing areas, each suited to a different stage in the propagation cycle - mother plants, rooting, germination, acclimatising & grow-out. As part of our handover, we’re also teaching the on-site team to plant our saplings in BCC's FiberCell containers, enabling small teams to plant millions of trees swiftly and efficiently. 

Heinz Reinstorf, Forest Nursery Specialist at BCC shares his experience of working with Vegtech Netafim on this project: 

"My dealings with Vegtech Netafim going as far back as 2014 have always been a pleasure. They are professional but personal, with good response time to my queries. They were able to find solutions for problems that needed to be sorted out on site. For example, the local labour and contractor were not able to meet the targets set. Vegtech Netafim  assisted in keeping the installation supervisor for longer than planned. Also coming to the party to cover the costs of a second (commissioning) supervisor to complete the job." 

The positive impact on businesses and global ecology

In an era where Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) regulations are taking centre stage across Europe, companies are actively seeking strategies to offset their carbon emissions. BCC's forestry projects, such as this one in Gabon, are a beacon of hope and a prime example of impactful ecological action. They help businesses conform to sustainability standards, avoiding potential regulatory fines, and simultaneously contribute positively to the planet. A true win-win project. 

However, the benefits of these projects extend far beyond regulatory compliance. By supporting reforestation initiatives, companies can have a significant social impact by creating new jobs in local communities and stimulating economic growth. This is particularly the case in Africa, which is currently the focus of many carbon sequestration projects and investors. 

This project, while predominantly a commercial plantation that supplies fibre to a future plywood mill in the vicinity of Bongoville, also incorporates elements of ecological restoration and community upliftment. By growing indigenous trees for rehabilitation areas and vegetable seedlings for neighbouring communities, the project embodies a holistic approach to sustainable development.

Our vision for the future

This project marks a significant step towards a future where sustainable agriculture and energy initiatives intertwine. The success of the Gabon project has also sparked interest in countries like DRC, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Angola. BCC plans to further expand their plantation operations to these countries, amplifying the positive impact of their initiatives. 

We hope to be involved in many more projects like this one, utilising our innovative propagation techniques to tackle the challenges our planet faces. 

We're proud to play a part in this initiative with BCC, and remain dedicated to promoting sustainable, efficient, and accessible agronomic solutions to all our clients.

Join us in cultivating a better tomorrow

Interested in learning more about our work with BCC, or exploring how we can aid your sustainable agriculture goals? Get in touch on +27 21 987 6980 or