Blog

Water Crisis

DROUGHT SPECIAL #3: What does the drought mean for agriculture? An outlook from Syria

CAPE TOWN DROUGHT UPDATE

Even though Day Zero was pushed back to mid May, Capetonians are still urged to dramatically cut down water their consumption. Rates of consumption remain capped at 50L per person, per day – less than one-sixth of what the average American uses. Dam levels sit at 25.8%, a 1% decrease since just last week.

If you want to see alarming before and after aerial photographs of the Theewaterskloof dam, click here.

The situation in Cape Town is dramatically escalating- water tanks and bottles are selling out across the city and bottled water sales are capped. The Newland Spring water collection point has been particularly popular, attracting hundreds of residents keen to supplement their 50L quotas. Reports show that physical conflicts have already broken out, with one person being arrested by South African Police. On top of this, many have complained about the noise and traffic in the area at all hours of the day. This is raising serious questions about access to and security of the proposed water pick up points, and sparking speculation of chaotic anarchy upon the arrival of Day Zero. Until now, a shutdown of this magnitude has been close to inconceivable.

Continue reading “DROUGHT SPECIAL #3: What does the drought mean for agriculture? An outlook from Syria”

Foodtech

Cultured meat (Pt 2) – Startups and Investments

(estimated reading time: 6 minutes) 

Introduction

Various industry experts expect the cost of bringing cultured meat to the public to vary between $150-370 million, according to AgFunder. To date, investors have poured less than $100 million into every company operating in cultured meat combined.  Despite the obvious dichotomy, should 2018 be the year of cellular agriculture and cultured meat, funding rounds for startups operating in the space will be both massive and widely covered in the media. Many investors and scientists wrote off the prospects of cultured meat after its initial debut – Dr. Mark Post’s $300,000 adventure. Cause for optimism nevertheless resides – the cost of production has fallen by 98% in less than two years and, often times, it’s easy to forget how expensive bringing a product to market can be. After all, the first iPhone cost over $2.5 billion in R&D. In this blog you will learn more about some of the companies vying to make cultured meat as widespread as Apple’s device.

Continue reading “Cultured meat (Pt 2) – Startups and Investments”

Water Crisis

DROUGHT SPECIAL #2: How the City of Melbourne overcame the drought and how Cape Town is tackling the water crisis

City of Melbourne (1997 – 2009)

Australia faced their worst ever drought from 1997-2009. The south-eastern city of Melbourne, with a population of 4.3 million saw dam levels drop to 25.6%. 

Through collaborative governance and policy change Melbourne was able to succeed from the grip of the drought:

  1. Prior to the drought, legislation was passed that stipulated integration of government response in the case of a drought. This instantiated a trickle-down flow of funding from federal to state to city projects, with a regional manager having authority to force all levels of government to cooperate.
  2. Millions were invested infrastructure including a desalination plant (which has never been used)
  3. Rebate programs for residential greywater systems
  4. Government investment in recycled water systems in the urban and agricultural sector

Following these changes, residents and businesses reduced their water use by almost 50% from 1997.

Continue reading “DROUGHT SPECIAL #2: How the City of Melbourne overcame the drought and how Cape Town is tackling the water crisis”

Foodtech

Cultured meat- the meat that could revolutionise the $844bn meat market

(estimated reading time: 6 minutes) 

Introduction

Our last newsletter (hyperlink) offered insight into a unique sector of the rapidly growing plant-based protein industry – mushrooms and the fascinating potential of fungi in the human diet. We opted to dive into a more nuanced sector of plant-based proteins due to the abundance of media attention and venture capital funding on plant-based alternatives to traditional meat products. Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Hampton Creek, the three most prominent plant-based meat startups, have collectively raised over $500 million from Silicon Valley’s most reputable firms. Surprisingly, companies that produce lab-grown meat – or “cultured meat,” as we will refer to it – have received significantly less capital and experienced comparatively slower growth. This newsletter will explore the realm of cultured meat to unearth and explain the technology, active players, and its place in the lucrative meat market alongside plant-based competitors.

Continue reading “Cultured meat- the meat that could revolutionise the $844bn meat market”

Water Crisis

DROUGHT SPECIAL: Day Zero is inevitable

People are looking to point the blame – who or what caused the water crisis in Cape Town? Whether it be the fast-growing population, the carelessness of residents to reduce their consumption or a misplacement of government responsibility – the question is becoming redundant.

April 20 12 16 Mid May 2018 (updated: 6/2/2018) day zero will come. People are losing faith in local authorities, and Cape Town’s contingency plan is at best too little, too late.

Looking at the experiences of other drought-stricken major cities offers an insight into overcoming dire circumstances: Continue reading “DROUGHT SPECIAL: Day Zero is inevitable”