A year after a landmark waste reduction initiative was launched in South Africa, it has already gained signed participation by more than 50 business entities in the consumer goods sector.
The South African Food Loss and Waste Voluntary Agreement was launched in September 2020 by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), in partnership with the national departments of forestry, fisheries and the environment, and trade, industry and competition.
It commits food manufacturers and retailers to reducing food waste along the supply chain, preventing it from happening in the first place or – when it does happen – from going to a landfill.
Matlou Setati, executive for the food safety initiative at the CGCSA says, “We now have over 55 [core and associate] signatories…who have committed to work towards reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030.”
Gareth Ackerman, co-chair of the CGCSA and chairman of Pick n Pay, says reducing food waste is particularly important in South Africa.
“Locally, it is estimated that we waste just under a third of what is produced – up to 10 million tonnes of food – in the journey from farm to fork. In a country where an estimated 14 million people go to bed hungry every night, this is a monumental unnecessary waste which cannot be allowed to continue.”
Setati admits some businesses fear reputational damage because of surplus food redistribution and says a review of the existing legislative framework governing food donations and donor liability is underway. A tool for signatories to capture their food waste savings and donations has also been developed and is being tested.
She calls for more signatories to join the collective. “The more signatories we have on board the stronger we are together in achieving the reduction target, fighting food insecurity, reducing environmental impact and saving money and resource.”
Western Cape MEC visits cannabis farm
Western Cape agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer visited the Felbridge cannabis farm outside Stellenbosch and highlighted that the cannabis sector has “enormous potential” in developing SMMEs, attracting investment, and value-add opportunities. It also has the potential to create between 10 000 to 25 000 jobs across the value chain.
“The Western Cape province is positioning itself to become a value chain hub of cannabis production. We look forward to engaging with the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development’s Cannabis Master Plan. By doing so, the Western Cape can contribute to strengthening critical aspects of the plan, such as developing sustainable seed supply systems and supporting those who want to enter the industry.”
The cannabis industry is global, the minister said, and the Western Cape wants to create jobs in this growing industry to aid with economic recovery in the province.
Foot-and-mouth disease: Zone reduction welcomed
News of a reduction of the FMD-affected zone in KwaZulu-Natal was welcomed by the Beefmaster Group this week. The department of agriculture, land reform and rural development recently announced that the zone affected by foot-and-mouth disease is now confined to two clusters only, meaning movement restrictions were sufficient to prevent the disease from spreading.
In a statement, Beefmaster supply chain executive Roelie van Reenen said the reduction was possible thanks to the cooperation of players in the livestock communities who have strictly adhered to protocols which limited the movement of animals.
He added however that, as long as the disease lingers, there are dangers to meat supply in South Africa and exports to key markets. “We are not out of the danger zone yet.
“Government is doing what it must…in curbing the outbreak. The rest is up to the industry. We must take the solution seriously; there can be no shortcuts in protecting our national herd.”
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