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The Problems

Lack of food security is one of the most urgent crises facing our country today. Every day over 20 million South African men, women and children go to bed hungry. We live in a country that produces an abundance of fresh, nourishing food that could feed all our citizens, but one of the central problems is that 10 million tons of food goes to waste every year.

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity in South Africa is at catastrophic levels.  Twenty million people – 30 % of the population – are at various stages of extreme food insecurity with millions of children going to sleep hungry every night!  This is while 10,3  million tons of food (enough to feed these people three nutritious meals a day for over a year) is wasted every year. Poor South African women bear the brunt of responsibility in the household as, when money is tight, and it almost always is, it is they who skip meals to ensure that the children have just something to ward off hunger. One of the most pernicious effects of food vulnerability at this scale is childhood stunting, inability to concentrate and, therefore, to learn. This is just one of the elements of the South African tragedy.

Broken Food Ecosystem

One of the fundamental causes of hunger is the lack of access to AFFORDABLE nutritious food. When the ANC came into power they decided to opt out of any intervention in the food chain. The result of this libertarian approach meant that the powerful in the food chain got more powerful and there was tremendous downward pressure on farmers’ selling prices. Small farmers were all but obliterated and, with this, access to farmagate shopping all but disappeared. It is essential that the South African government intervenes – price control, zero-rating tax on food, making food waste illegal, and more – to make significant strides to end hunger in South Africa.

Poor Collaboration & Transparency

One of the problems in the food rescue space is the lack of cooperation between the individual operators. This causes efficiencies – like some beneficiaries getting too much food while others are getting too little, overspending on logistics when much of the costs could be curtailed through cooperation, and so on. SA Harvest is in the process of developing a technology platform that will enable all those in this industry – what we have termed ‘the food space’ – to work together in a more efficient system that will ultimately vastly increase the number of hungry people fed.

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