WWF-SA’s Resource Smart Food Initiative explores multiple points of intervention in the food system to determine actions that could shift the system onto a more sustainable trajectory. As a partner in the initiative, the Southern Africa Food Lab is assisting with the design and facilitation of a number of dialogue processes aimed at stimulating new thinking and collective action.

10 trends

WWF presented an overview of the top trends in the production landscape in 2018.

One focus area of the initiative is that of the influence of private sector finance in leading and supporting shift of food system towards a more sustainable trajectory.

In January this year, the Food Lab took thought leaders from the South African finance, insurance and investment sector on a learning journey aimed at building capacity and stimulating conversation to catalyze innovative partnerships in the transition to a resilient low-carbon food system.

The group visited a number of agri-businesses and farms that demonstrate innovation in the practice and ethos of owners and their teams.

Field visits included stops at:

  • AgriProtein in Phillipi, which launched the world’s first industrial scale nutrient recycling in 2016. It converts food waste from restaurants and retailers in Cape Town to insect protein in the form of fly larvae as a natural protein source for poultry. This business driven by serial entrepreneur Jason Drew, diverts a significant amount of organic waste organics from landfill to produce three products one of which is sustainably sourced fish and animal feed.
  • Villiera Wines in Stellenbosch, with rich heritage owned for generations by the Grier family, is devoted to continuous improvement of the social and environmental impacts of the farm. 950 square meters of solar panels supply enough power for the daytime running of the farm (outside of harvest time), it hosts the Pebbles Project which runs a day care centre for more than 30 farm workers’ children, the OWETHU clinic, offering affordable primary health care to families employed by both Villiera and surrounding farms, and boasts a 220 hectare wildlife sanctuary.
  • De Fynne Nursery is a success story of land reform, entrepreneurship and passion for conservation through cultivation. Elton Jefthas and Jacky Goliath run a specialist nursery growing water wise plants on contract for the horticulture and agriculture sector. The drought and reduced water allocation has had its impacts and they have had to find smart solutions. Their story highlights the time it takes to achieve success.
  • Bartinney Wine Farm, run by ecowarrior Rose Jordaan and her husband Michael, an ecologically diverse environment, planted with an indigenous nursery growing indigenous water-wise fynbos to restore neglected slopes. More than half the farm’s power is generated through solar. Bartinney also contributes to social upliftment in the local Kylemore community and has diversified their offering to hospitality.

Throughout the day, discussions took place exploring solutions to the top trends identified in WWF-SA, research on the production landscape, including issues of reduced water availability and climate change, along with the potential of greater inclusivity of supply chains.

“The purpose of the day was to give the private sector insight into some of the big changes we’ve seen in South African agriculture over the last 20 years, to share future trends with them, and to demonstrate innovations addressing these,” explains Tatjana von Bormann, Senior Manager Policy and Futures Unit, WWF-SA.

“By taking these thought leaders on a learning journey we’ve stimulated fresh thinking and conversation around the potential of private sector finance to influence the future trajectory of food systems at a production level.”

“It is clear from the enthusiastic participation of the agri finance specialists that the Food Lab ‘learning journey’ and dialogue approach is a novel and powerful tool for helping specialists deal with complex interconnected issues like climate change.”

The event was funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.