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There is a plethora of apps these days that give us a mobile means of investing and managing our money. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies grab the headlines, but there are also apps that give direct and indirect access to stocks, index-tracking funds, and rainy-day savings. Now you can even buy a little slice of productive agriculture via "crowd-farming" and "impact farming".

Here, again, the mobile app is the conduit to the investment vehicle, not the offering itself. Locally, through the Fedgroup app, anyone with a few hundred rand to spare can buy into sustainable farming ventures — including solar power, beekeeping and blueberry farming.

The great thing about this is that the recipients (the farmers) have been selected and vetted, and because it is a group-investing set-up, the barriers and costs to entry are significantly lower. It’s like micro venture capital.

Fedgroup has been around since 1990 and is an independent financial services company offering things like commercial property finance, group retirement savings, and now this. You merely need the app (available for iOS and Android), and some moveable cash – and are ultimately buying part-shares in these eco-friendly, for-profit ventures. This is packaged in the in-app marketplace as buying a blueberry bush, solar panel or beehive — or a mix thereof.

Fedgroup promises to do all the "heavy lifting", including the installation of these "assets" on approved farms.

The outcome is that you earn a small but regular income off the success of these assets.

"Once your assets produce a yield, we sell it to our contracted customers, collect the money, and pay you an income," explains Fedgroup in the app information. You can then reinvest or cash out.

The app is simple to use and provides a great "dashboard" view of your investments. The minimum investment is R300.

The honey and blueberries provide returns twice a year, while solar is year-round.

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