Smartroots: Cultivating a green economy in South Africa through local start-up support

As South Africa strives for a sustainable future, supporting local start-ups in sustainable agriculture is essential for growing the green economy. Smartroots, a homegrown South African start-up, is leading the charge with their innovative mycorrhizal-based organic fertiliser booster, SmartRoot™. They aim to revolutionise agriculture by empowering smallholder farmers to enhance crop productivity, promote eco-friendly practices and contribute to a greener South Africa, fostering economic and environmental sustainability.


About Smartroots:

Smartroots, founded in a small village outside of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, is driven by the vision to prioritise eco-friendly practices. Led by their founder and local entrepreneur, Nkululeko Ngqinambi, and his dedicated team, Smartroots is committed to manufacturing the best ecological products for soil fertility management. Their roots in the local community inspire their passion for sustainable agriculture and their unwavering dedication to promoting environmentally friendly solutions. But Smartroots is not only an organic fertiliser company, it is also a force for community impact. By working with and employing people from the surrounding area, where their operations are based, Smartroots also contributes to the local community’s growth and prosperity. All their employees and labour are from the Mthatha region and they actively engage the community in growing feedstock for their production. As Smartroots scales and expands its operations, the positive impact on the community grows exponentially. Their commitment to sustainable agriculture, coupled with their community-focused approach, positions Smartroots at the forefront of sustainable farming in South Africa, driving both local empowerment and global food production.

The versatility of SmartRoot™:

Smartroots specialises in a range of biofertiliser products that harness the power of the mycorrhizal fungus. These innovative solutions offer a cost-effective approach to enhance crop yields, enrich soil quality and optimise water retention capacity, while upholding environmental sustainability.

Mycorrhizal, an indigenous fungus, acts as the active ingredient at the core of SmartRoots™ products. By improving the efficiency of plant roots in utilising nutrients and water through biological processes, these products unlock remarkable benefits.

Among Smartroots offerings, the SmartRoot™ Booster stands out, significantly increasing agronomic efficiency by enhancing root efficiency in acquiring and utilising nutrients and water from the soil. This results in a higher yield per unit input, positively impacting overall agronomic efficiency.

Another Smartroots product is the SmartRoot™ Enhancer, which contains four top performing mycorrhizal species that are known to be effective with 85% of land plants. This product promises to be ground-breaking for  smallholder/subsistence farming and organic farming.


Benefits of SmartRoot™:

  • Nutrient mobilisation: SmartRoot™ utilises mycorrhizal fungi to capture hard-to-reach nutrients in the soil, making them readily available for plant uptake. This improves plant health and vigour by ensuring crops receive essential nutrients.
  • Water retention and soil stability: By improving soil carbon and organic content, SmartRoot™ enhances soil stability and water retention throughout the crop growth cycle. This leads to efficient water use and reduced water stress, especially in arid or drought-prone regions.
  • Root development: SmartRoot™ significantly increases the surface area of plant roots, enabling better nutrient and water absorption from the soil. This expanded root system enhances nutrient uptake and overall plant growth.
  • Increased crop yields: SmartRoot™ optimises water and nutrient uptake, improving agronomic efficiency and ultimately enhancing crop yields. Farmers using SmartRoot™ have reported substantial improvements in both quantity and quality of their harvests, benefiting their economic returns.



Why Savant is investing in South Africa’s green economy:

The recent investment from Savant Venture Fund is a significant milestone for Smartroots. With Savant’s support, Smartroots can expand operations, enhance research and development efforts, and reach a broader market. This investment validates the potential of Smartroots’ product line  and highlights the growing interest in sustainable agricultural solutions globally.

Nick Allen, Savant’s CEO, stated, “Smartroots serves as a prime example of a local start-up driving the growth of South Africa’s green economy. By investing in and supporting such enterprises, Savant aims to foster economic growth, job creation and sustainability within the all-important agricultural sector.”

At Savant, we firmly believe in the importance of investing in the green economy and supporting local start-ups, like Smartroots, for several compelling reasons. Firstly, Smartroots’ success significantly contributes to economic growth by creating job opportunities and generating revenue. By supporting such enterprises we drive innovation, attract investments and cultivate a thriving green economy that benefits the entire country.

Secondly, Smartroots’ focus on sustainable agricultural practices is crucial for environmental sustainability. Their promotion of ecological products and implementation of soil fertility management techniques contribute to the conservation of natural resources and reduce the overall environmental impact of farming. This aligns perfectly with the goals of a green economy, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

Furthermore, local start-ups, like Smartroots, play a pivotal role in introducing technological advancements tailored to the specific needs of the region. By nurturing and supporting these enterprises, we foster a culture of innovation within the agricultural sector and beyond, driving technological progress and benefiting the overall economy.

Lastly, Smartroots prioritises knowledge sharing and capacity building within communities. By investing in initiatives that promote skill transfer and knowledge dissemination in South Africa, we empower individuals with valuable expertise, ultimately leading to increased self-sufficiency and prosperity. Supporting local start-ups like Smartroots helps build a knowledgeable workforce and creates a strong foundation for sustainable economic growth.

We firmly believe that supporting local start-ups working in the green economy, like Smartroots, is crucial for South Africa’s economic growth, job creation and environmental sustainability. By investing in these enterprises, we aim to foster a culture of innovation and technological advancements in the agricultural sector, driving progress and benefiting the overall economy. Smartroots’ dedication to sustainable agriculture and their innovative biofertiliser, SmartRoot™, exemplify the potential of local start-ups to contribute to a greener future. With this investment, Smartroots is well-positioned to make a lasting impact, improving agronomic efficiency, enhancing crop yields and leading the way towards a more sustainable farming industry. By nurturing a thriving green economy, we pave the path for a prosperous and sustainable future for South Africa.

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