Food Loss and Waste Streams in the eThekwini Municipality, OR Tambo District Municipality and the Waterberg District Municipality

Under a five-year programme on the Circular Economy, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has undertaken a project focused on food loss and waste. This aims to support local business to scale and replicate food waste innovations, strengthen capacity of local government and other stakeholders in implementing food waste solutions, and develop and disseminate knowledge regarding food waste and circularity. 

The project works with small-scale farmer and agribusiness networks situated with­in eThekwini Municipality (largely metropolitan with a mix of semi-rural, peri-urban and urban) and iLembe District Municipality (largely rural). Due to COVID-19, these networks have become disconnected impact­ing on the ability of farmers to produce and sell food to generate income.


Within this overall project, the Southern Africa Food Lab (Food Lab) and the Seriti Institute have partnered to map and analyse the food systems in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal Province, O R Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province, and Waterberg District Municipality in Limpopo Province. The ultimate purpose of this work is to understand the food loss and waste streams in these municipalities in order to strengthen their capacity on food waste recovery and processing solutions.

The project specifically looks to foster the establishment of community waste management systems for recovery, processing, and alternative uses. It is clear that effectively reducing food waste and loss could be a significant strategy to improve food security and achieve a sustainable food future particularly through seeking processes and solutions to close loops in the circular economy. 


Many of the actions required to reduce food loss and waste are already well formulated; the challenge is transferring this knowledge to where it is needed, within government, the business sector and households. From this study, it is clear that innovation exists but that it is patchy across sectors and much can be gained by enabling learning across different actors and indeed districts. 


Download the full report of detailing the study here.

Scott Drimie introduces the Food Loss and Waste project

Kenneth Carden introduces the eThekwini case study

Bridgette Mabuela introduces the Waterberg District case study

Craig Schwabe introduces the OR Tambo District case study


As the United Nations lead agency on international development, UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our work is concentrated in three focus areas; sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience.


Seriti Institute is a development facilitation agency which helps communities and social partners reach their goals by delivering innovative, sustainable, and comprehensive solutions to enhance socioeconomic impact. We do this by providing technical support, programme/project management and implementation, facilitated learning, and through promoting civic-driven change and accountability.


Seriti is a non-profit company and public benefit organisation. The organisation is governed by a board of distinguished professionals and is led by black women. A Level 1 B-BBEE compliant social enterprise, Seriti Institute reinvests surplus revenue from fees-for-service on its programmes and consulting assignments back into community development initiatives. With a diverse range of expertise, Seriti is well-placed to achieve impact at scale. Seriti’s mission is to help communities and social partners reach their goals by delivering innovative and comprehensive solutions.


AfricaScope is a unique information company that’s passionate about Africa’s development. AfricaScope brings together teams of reputable, experienced and professional analysts This provides access to a distinct set of methodological approaches, research skills and market sector understanding in South Africa and Africa.