To help alleviate some of the human suffering caused by the recent KwaZulu-Natal floods, Hortgro has donated R15 000 to FoodForward SA and a further R15 000 to Gift of the Givers.
According to government estimates, more than 40,000 people have been displaced by the floods.
FoodForward SA is an organisation established to address widespread hunger in South Africa. They recover quality surplus food from the consumer goods supply chains and distribute it to community organisations that serve the poor. In South Africa alone, 30 million people need food support daily.
Hortgro Executive Director, Anton Rabe, says that this donation was the right thing to do. “We know what the drought, a few years back, did to people’s living conditions, mental health, and daily survival in order to get food in our main production regions.”
He added that though times are tough for the industry, we are still in a position to help those less fortunate. “Despite all our challenges and pressure on profitability, we as an industry, especially in the Western Cape, are actually very fortunate and we can help to make this humanitarian contribution.”
Meggan Volkwyn, marketing and communications officer at FoodForward SA, says that the recent floods exasperated issues already prevalent in KwaZulu-Natal. “In KwaZulu-Natal, we provide food to more than 340 beneficiary organisations reaching over 100,000 vulnerable people each month. However, the devastation caused by the floods left thousands of people displaced. These people are being provided shelter at local community centres, and FoodForward SA is providing daily cooked meals at 30 of these sites.”
A third of all food produced in South Africa ends up in landfills. FoodForward SA helps rescue good quality surplus food from the supply chain – whether it be from farmers, manufacturers or grocery stores – and re-distributes it to over 800 000 vulnerable people on a daily basis.
“While South Africa produces enough food to feed all its people, because of supply chain weaknesses such as poor forecasting, over-ordering, specification requirements etc. more than 10 million tons of good quality food is dumped in landfills or incinerated.
“At the same time, groceries are too expensive for the poor, and therefore access to food is their main challenge.”
Volkwyn says that the organisation was well prepared to assist with this disaster since it helped with the Covid-19 pandemic and the July riots last year. FoodForward’s operations more than doubled in 2020 in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown. “Our response to the July Riots also ensured that we further scaled our operations nationally.”
Hortgro has also donated to Gift of the Givers’ disaster relief efforts in KwaZulu-Natal. They are prioritising hot meals, blankets, bottled water, warm clothes, sanitary pads and diapers for those in low lying areas who have lost their homes and material possessions. Food parcels, school uniforms and stationery will be provided where the need arises.