Leading national food distribution non-profit, FoodForward SA today announced its’ strategic partnership with AgriSA and the Citrus Growers Association of South Africa. The partnership will see the collective leverage of over 28 000 farmers and 1000 farmer associations and get edible surplus fresh produce to at-risk communities continuing to suffer the impacts of the COVID19 Pandemic.
Says FoodForward SA Managing Director, Andy Du Plessis, “These crucial partnerships give us greater access to the agricultural supply chain and will deliver massive tangible value to our Second Harvest programme by increasing the nutritional value of the food we distribute to at-risk communities. In the past 8 weeks alone FoodForward SA received more than 900 tons of fresh produce donated by farmers. We are grateful for their partnership in helping us realise a South Africa without hunger.”
Says AgriSA Deputy Executive Director, Christo van der Rheede. “We are excited about the partnership, which will see AgriSA supporting the important work that FoodForward SA does and getting critical food aid in the form of surplus produce donated by farmers in all nine provinces.“
Based on research conducted by the Institute of Risk Management of South Africa (IRMSA) the country is starting to register cases of malnutrition in children for the first time in decades, which, it warns, will only increase as the Lockdown extends into winter. IRMSA CEO Gillian le Cordeur views the partnership between FoodForward SA, AgriSA and the Citrus Growers Association as a vital collaboration that will help mitigate the risks the organisation has been so careful to highlight.
Says Le Cordeur, “We continue to endorse FoodForward SA as a critical distribution resource in addressing these risks as it has the proven ability, best practise approach and efficacy to deliver what is needed, to those in need. The plight for food has escalated and we are seeing how communities are even more desperate than before. With the unprecedented need to mobilise food to as many people, as quickly and efficiently as possible, transparency and the credibility of the role players is key to success. Together with its partners, FoodForward SA can mobilise funds and food quickly through the use of registered beneficiary organisations, a robust and established national logistical infrastructure, and strong governance processes. Acting fast with a high level of integrity is a matter of extreme importance.”
The Citrus Growers Association of South Africa CEO, Justin Chadwick is proud to be partnering with FoodForward SA in order to assist growers to donate citrus to those communities hardest hit by Covid-19 and the Lockdown.
“In two to three weeks, the navel orange season will be in full swing”, comments Chadwick. “ The Citrus Growers Association has therefore been approached by a number of farmers who wish to donate their surplus fruit during these difficult times. This partnership will ensure that these citrus donations reach households most in need over the coming months. By contributing towards the nutritional value of the food parcels being distributed to communities, we hope we can help ensure better health outcomes beyond the Pandemic.“
Citrus contains a range of nutrients and antioxidants that offer numerous health benefits including lowering people’s risk of heart disease and boosting their immune systems.
As a direct result of the partnership, FFSA is extending its food support into the Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, and the Northern Cape, to provide greater access to nutritious food to vulnerable households there. In exchange for farmers donating their surplus produce FoodForward SA will issue them with a tax certificate for their donations, distributing the surplus fresh produce to the over 1005 Beneficiary Organisations (BOs) within its network.
All parties agree that the recovery of edible surplus food will benefit farmers, feed people, and help the environment. With over a third of all food produced in South Africa being wasted, every ton of food recovered by FoodForward SA removes four tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
As winter approaches, and as food insecurity drastically increases because many have lost their income, FoodForward SA is preparing to reach millions of vulnerable people across South Africa, so that they receive much-needed nutritious meals to stave off hunger.