An online platform connecting farmers with feeding schemes has seen 270 tons of excess produce – destined to be destroyed as waste – turned into meals for 190,000 people.
South Africa’s coronavirus-induced lockdown, which closed restaurants, hotels, and some small-scale produce markets created an oversupply and under-demand for fresh produce.
As a result, emerging farmers were forced to plough their vegetable crops back into the land or offload to livestock yards at a loss.
The online match-making solution connects farmers with registered charity organisations to assist feeding programmes in vulnerable communities.
Millions of South Africans were pushed to the brink during the country’s lockdown, with mounting job losses and business closures threatening food security. Almost a fifth of South African households indicated that children had gone hungry, according to the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM).
And although large-scale commercial farmers, with steady export streams and existing off-take agreements, were mostly protected from lockdown’s local economic impact, emerging farmers have struggled to get their produce into oversupplied markets.
“The market had a lot of surplus [produce], which was standing and rotting due to the slow movement of vegetables in the country because of the Covid situation,” explains Katlego Meso, an emerging farmer in Tarlton, Gauteng, who grows red cabbages, celery, peppers, and broccoli.
“The market was flooded and for small and emerging farmers it literally cripples you, because you’re sitting with tons and tons of produce and you’re not getting anything for it. Most of it is getting destroyed at the market because it’s just not moving fast enough.”
Recognising the coexistence of these two critical issues – that of oversupply and widespread hunger – a digital platform, connecting overloaded farmers with NPOs managing community feeding schemes, was established to answer both questions in a sustainable manner.Read the full story here