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Food relief platform serves million meals

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Standard Bank’s OneFarm Share initiative in South Africa has, since 9 November, collected and distributed more than 270 tonnes of food to accredited beneficiary organisations, providing over 1 million meals to vulnerable individuals. The initiative matches requests for food relief to suppliers with good quality excess fresh produce.

In 2021, Standard Bank hopes to increase OneFarm Share’s impact by ten times – delivering 7400 tonnes of food across all nine provinces, enabling over 30 million meals. The partnership provides a digital platform where emerging and commercial farmers can sell or donate their produce into new markets.

“The need for food relief is greater than ever, with over 12 million South Africans unsure of where their next meal will come from,” says Lungisa Fuzile, Standard Bank South Africa Chief Executive. “Farmers are aware of this need, but feel unable to meet it, without a clear mechanism to manage the requests for donations and an efficient, quick and transparent process to donate food. OneFarm Share brings all the role players together from producers and logistics companies to consumers and beneficiaries under a single digital platform where needs can instantly be identified and addressed.”

Agriculture has been prioritised as being one of the top five ecosystems for the Standard Bank Group. As a result, the OneFarm platform has been launched as a digital business-to-business platform to connect and provide services across the agricultural ecosystem through Lend, Protect, Grow, Trade and Share services. To date this has been piloted in Uganda since August 2019.

In South Africa, the OneFarm Platform was launched through OneFarm Share as a result of the food crisis caused by Covid-19 lockdowns and to increase the sustainability of farming operations in the country.

As Standard Bank firmly believes that co-creation is the key to acceleration, it partnered with HelloChoice, a South African AgriTech with a digital fresh produce marketplace, as well as FoodForward SA, the largest food distribution non-profit organisation in South Africa. FoodForward SA focuses on the recovery and redistribution of edible surplus food from the supply chain (including retailers, manufacturers, and farmers). By partnering with organisations with existing capabilities, the initiative was up and running within just four months.

“By joining forces and working closely with Standard Bank to drive the OneFarm Share initiative, we can make a genuine, sustainable impact to reducing hunger and improving food security through ground-breaking online technology,” says Grant Jacobs, CEO & Co-Founder of HelloChoice.

The OneFarm Share platform aims to collate food requests from registered charity organisations and aggregates them onto an online marketplace. The requests are then matched to available produce listed by farmers and food producers. The food is made accessible to beneficiary organisations at a reduced cost or as a donation and the platform facilitates the smooth delivery of the right produce, to the right place, at the lowest possible cost.

To accelerate the launch, some of the bank’s Covid-relief funding was allocated to food and logistics procurement, which ensured that OneFarm Share’s beneficiary partner, FoodForward SA, could distribute this bulk nutritious food to various registered and vetted community feeding programmes, early childhood development centres, facilities that care for the frail and aged, centres that provide at-risk youth with skills, among others. This includes produce with high nutritional value such as cabbages, potatoes, spinach, butternut, beetroot and dried beans.

“The partnership with Standard Bank enables us greater access to a far larger network of farmers who donate into our network,” comments Andy Du Plessis, MD of FoodForward SA. “Through regular donations of fresh produce, we can provide food donations to beneficiary organisations that is more nutritious.”

Standard Bank plans to grow the platform funds by approaching corporates with CSI funds earmarked for food relief as well as the bank’s retail base and high net worth clients. It has also launched a SnapScan account and code for members of the public that wish to donate.

“Innovative technology has the potential to transform agriculture on the continent,” says Fuzile.

“It will also enable us to create solutions for the most vulnerable members of our society. Therefore, Standard Bank is focused on creating platform solutions that can connect and provide services to multiple players across the agricultural ecosystem.”

A unique offering with scalable potential

Mr Fuzile explains that OneFarm Share is a unique offering that has not been attempted at scale in South Africa.

“A crisis like COVID-19 requires a more intensive focus on innovation as it provides challenges that may not normally exist. OneFarm Share is our response”.

“The OneFarm Share initiative is not simply about providing hunger relief and reducing food wastage. It is also about restimulating the economy and helping to recreate markets for farmers who may have lost their traditional markets due to the impact of lockdown measures or beyond. Many have been unable to recover. The platform gives them an opportunity to sell produce in a way that they may have not had access to previously: to a structure that supports the vulnerable in our society. We are excited about the enormous potential that OneFarm Share has to ensure the sustainability of agriculture and reduce the problem of hunger on the continent,” Fuzile concludes.

Donations can be made on Snapscan or through an EFT. For more information on OneFarm Share and how you can get involved visit www.onefarmshare.co.za

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