Imai Farming Cooperative

Processing unused surplus crop yields into value-added products
2011 SEED Award Sustainable Agriculture Polokwane, South Africa

The IMAI Farming Cooperative has developed a sustainable business processing surplus vegetable crop yields into the value-added food product “achar”. This avoids wasting surplus vegetables and generates additional income. Non-sustainable farming techniques and post-harvest storing methods are responsible for the loss of large amounts of crops in South Africa. IMAI has developed an innovative approach to fighting these losses, chopping the surplus vegetables into small pieces and storing them in an acidic solution to create different types of “achar”. The shared agro-processing plant and sale of achar brings the value chain one step closer to local farmers, giving them an additional source of income. 

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

The project improves food security, alleviates poverty and reduces the use of toxic chemicals used in vegetable crops.
  • Improving food security and contributing to poverty alleviation among members of the community
  • Providing support on the effective use of distributed land that was acquired through government programmes.
  • Encouraging community members to adopt organic farming practices that reduce the use of toxic chemicals.
  • Harvesting rainwater and reducing depletion of groundwater.

  • Strengthening local farmers’ self-reliance.
  • Providing members of the community with additional sources of income and the chance to improve their skills.


This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

IFACO initiated the project and has started processing the first vegetables to produce achar.

The Independent Development Trust (IDT) is helping the initiative to acquire funds to develop the first vegetable-processing plant.

The South African Department of Agriculture supports farmers with the necessary resources and training to enable them to work productively and sustain their livelihoods.

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