World Food Day October 2021

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16 OCTOBER 2021

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Building resilience for future sustainability

INSIDE: AI AND PLANT HEALTH I MARINE PROTECTED AREAS I INNOVATION AND FOOD SECURITY I SUSTAINABLE FOOD PACKAGING

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A DIGITAL PLATFORM CREATING IMPACTFUL CONNECTIONS POWERED BY PARTNERSHIP A country of contrast, South Africa has abundant natural resources and is one of the world’s largest food producers. Simultaneously, it battles deep-seated inequality and pervasive poverty and hunger. Against this backdrop, OneFarm Share aims to improve food security for the country’s most vulnerable individuals whilst benefiting its farmers. This is a journey to prosperity, based firmly in the knowledge that one contribution makes a big difference. Established through a partnership between Standard Bank and HelloChoice, OneFarm Share is an innovative platform that provides an easy, secure and transparent way to channel essential food directly to those who need it.

Incredible Results As of the end of August 2021, 3,200 tonnes of produce have been directed to those in need; 980 of these delivered in August alone. This equates to 12.8 million meals, feeding 1 million people countrywide. 750 beneficiary organisations are supported with an incredible 90 contributors to the programme. These include 44 emerging farmers, 39 commercial farmers and 7 food processors.

The Catalyst Millions of South Africans face uncertainty about their next meal. COVID-19 and lockdown conditions compounded the issue of food access while creating additional challenges in the agricultural sector. With oversupply and diminished demand for fresh produce, farmers across the country faced large volumes of excess stock, most destined to become waste. Identifying the gap, OneFarm Share became a digital match-making platform that connected food requests with available produce. The project pilot saw farmers donate in excess of 270 tonnes, translating to 1 million meals, in the first 3 months. The opportunity for scale and to create greater impact was clear. FoodForward SA joined as the distribution partner. “Lockdown presented areal challenge for our beneficiary organisations” said MD Andy Du Plessis, “OneFarm Share made a big difference, with many remarking how they appreciated the reliable and transparent way to gain access to fresh produce for their various initiatives. The speed and efficiency with which multiple partners responded provided a collective sense of optimism as to what can be achieved when working together.” Thanks to the resounding success of the pilot, OneFarm Share has become a permanent feature of the OneFarm platform and a formidable component of Standard Bank’s Agriculture Ecosystem.

of 3,200 tonnes produce

9 provinces countrywide

provided 12.8M meals

charities 750 registered

fed 1M people

contributors 90 programme

The OneFarm Share initiative seeks to empower emerging farmers to participate alongside their commercial counterparts - equipping them with tools and skills needed to scale and improve their operations, while creating an additional market for their produce. “We believe that innovative technology has the power to transform agriculture while also providing solutions for those in need” says Lungisa Fuzile, Chief Executive, SBSA. “We are overjoyed that our marketplace technologies and know-how can be used to benefit the agri sector and help feed our children and vulnerable communities” says HelloChoice CEO and Co-Founder, Grant Jacobs. Get Involved

Partnership & Collaboration The 2021 theme of World Food Day focuses on the future influence that collective action can have. The platform’s contributors can be found across the value chain: from benefactors using the platform as CSI-as-a-service, farmers and food producers wanting to sell or donate excess produce, through to logistics partners assisting with distribution and beneficiary organisations ensuring meals are provided to those in need. The impact-to-date of OneFarm Share is testament to the need for such initiatives, demonstrative of effective partnerships, and shows what commitment and hard work can achieve.

With no contribution too small, individuals, corporates and food producers can utilise OneFarm Share as a reputable and transparent way to donate to the cause. Whether a once-off or continuous contribution, all donations directly, positively impact our beneficiaries. Corporate and food producer donations receive a Section 18A Certificate.

OneFarm Share has ambitious goals and is looking for new partners to join this journey. Contact: onefarmshare@standardbank.co.za or visit onefarmshare.co.za for information on how to get involved. Make a contribution to OneFarm Share now using SnapScan to pay.

Farmer Tebogo Sebambo is one of the farmers contributing to the OneFarm Share platform.


A partnership between

STORIES OF IMPACT ACROSS THE VALUE CHAIN Beyond the registered charities and food recipients, OneFarm Share continues to demonstrate the ability to have a profound and meaningful impact.

African Marmalade Siphiwe Sithole has run this Gauteng-based farm since 2015. She brings together other small scale farmers from across the province to fulfil requests for produce via OneFarm Share. To date, the farm has donated and supplied an incredible 21 706kg of produce. Beyond this, she is actively recruiting additional farmers to join her efforts as the cause is close to her heart and personal values.

Blydevallei This Limpopo based farm has been growing oranges and mangos for 28 years. Through the OneFarm Share platform, and in participation with the Citrus Growers Association’s Orange Heart Fruit Initiative, they recently donated 45 tonnes of their delicious and nutritious oranges. The farm had surplus unpacked oranges. Through the help of FoodForward SA and Citrus Growers Association, these were packed and sent to the distribution centre before going onward to the registered charities.

Tripplo OneFarm Share’s logistics partner, Tripplo assists emerging and commercial farmers wanting to contribute to the programme. By ensuring that fresh produce can be taken directly from the farm to the beneficiary organisation, Tripplo assists the platform in reducing waste and additional handling costs. Recently, Sivuka Sonke in Bizana (EC) was unable to transport a donation of maize meal Through deployment of a Tripplo truck, the order was securely collected and transported to East London and onward to the final beneficiaries across Gqeberha.

Accenture Realising the need for food relief in KwaZulu-Natal following the period of unrest in July 2021, Accenture provided assistance to those in need by partnering with OneFarm Share to jointly procure food items directly from supplier farms in Gauteng, and distribute the produce to the relevant relief areas. In total, about 74 000kg of vegetables were distributed.


“We can change the world.” We have an unhealthy relationship with food. How do we solve this? Simple. We just need to change the world. This sounds daunting, impossible some might say. However, changing the world is not only possible; it is already happening. The food we eat needs to be sustainable. In South Africa, we rely heavily on maize, wheat and rice, which leaves scores of nutritional sources off our plates. This overreliance on a handful of crops can deplete the soil of nutrients, making soil vulnerable to a build-up of pathogens and pests. Solving this requires the overuse of fertilisers and pesticides, the inappropriate use of which can harm wildlife and pollute our water systems – wreaking untold damage. This grim status quo neither needs to, nor should exist. We can change the world by changing what’s on our plates. These plate changes are small, but their impact is global as food production is the biggest cause of nature loss on our planet. Eating for Good doesn’t mean going without. The opposite is true. Adding more variety to your plate is a fantastic way of making a difference, and World Food Day is the perfect time to start. Try mixing up your meals with different grains. Buckwheat is a good choice if you’re looking for a protein-rich and gluten-free alternative. Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and sesame seeds are more great options, they can bring earthy flavours and extra nutrition to a wide range of meals. And don’t forget vegetables – lots of vegetables. They’re delicious and healthy for both you and the planet. Consider expanding your list of go-to foods with vegetables like okra or moringa

leaves. Swapping meat with lentils is another quick and easy way of changing your plate. Lentils have a carbon footprint 43 times lower than that of beef. Animal agriculture alone is responsible for approximately 60 percent of all greenhouse gasses generated by farming – reducing these emissions will go a long way in slowing down and reversing the effects of climate change. Will changing our plates solve all our food problems? No. Even if we all change our habits and Eat for Good, the wider food system still needs to be fixed. As Knorr, we have a responsibility to do our part in fixing the destructive food supply chain and we’re doing just that, working with WWF South Africa. We are helping to inform farmers both big and small about the alternatives to intensive monoculture farming and animal husbandry. In an effort to make Eating for Good easier for all, Knorr is connecting key industry players so that practical solutions are found and implemented. There’s much that needs to be done. We face unprecedented challenges on a global-scale, but we believe that large-scale change starts with small actions. Small changes to individual plates. Changes that add taste and flavour to your plate, while improving the health of the planet. You can still eat for pleasure, eat to socialise and eat in celebration, but now it’s time to Eat for Good.


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EDITORIAL Content Manager: Raina Julies rainaj@picasso.co.za Contributors: Dave Berger, Trevor Crighton, James Francis, Pieter Holl, Sinegugu Zukulu Copy Editor: Brenda Bryden Content Co-ordinator: Vanessa Payne Digital Editor: Stacey Visser vissers@businessmediamags.co.za

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DESIGN Head of Design: Jayne Macé-Ferguson Senior Designer: Mfundo Archie Ndzo Advert Designer: Bulelwa Sotashe Cover: istock.com

SUSTAINABILITY

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FOOD SECURITY High levels of food wastage are pushing up food prices and increasing food insecurity. Improved planning and processes and greater public awareness will minimise this wastage and improve access to food

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INNOVATION: PLANT HEALTH How artificial intelligence can be used to monitor crop health and help track and combat pests and pathogens

INNOVATION: ENTREPRENEURS Local scientists and entrepreneurs are developing solutions to tackle water scarcity, pollution and other challenges that affect future food security

South Africa’s food producers are prioritising sustainable production and distribution and reducing food waste to lower their impact on the environment

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MARINE PROTECTED AREAS The important role of marine protected areas in preserving life, enhancing biodiversity and assisting local communities to be more self-sufficient

20 PACKAGING Packaging manufacturers are looking at new ways to manufacture and process products that answer the food and beverage industry’s call for more environmentally friendly packaging

SALES Project Manager: Jerome van der Merwe jeromev@picasso.co.za | +27 21 469 2485 | +27 820 668 1496 Sales Consultant: Frank Simons PRODUCTION Production Editor: Shamiela Brenner Advertising Co-ordinator: Shamiela Brenner Subscriptions and Distribution: Fatima Dramat, Fatimad@picasso.co.za Printed: CTP Printers, Cape Town MANAGEMENT Management Accountant: Deidre Musha Business Manager: Lodewyk van der Walt General Manager, Magazines: Jocelyne Bayer COPYRIGHT: No portion of this magazine may be

reproduced in any form without written consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited material. World Food Day is published by Picasso Headline. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Picasso Headline. All advertisements/advertorials have been paid for and therefore do not carry any endorsement by the publisher.

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SUS TA IN A BIL I T Y

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ocally and continentally, consumer brands are finding more ways to develop sustainable production, processing and distribution processes to combat food waste and minimise their impact on climate change. Unathi Mhlatyana, managing director: McCain Foods, says that for each of the company’s four sustainability strategy pillars there is a set of measurable commitments, which are country-specific. “McCain SA has identified a ‘big bet’ under each of the pillars: for Smart and Sustainable Farming, we focus on regenerative agriculture practices; for Resource-Efficient Operations, we are installing solar arrays in Delmas and Springs to exit usage of coal by 2030; for Good Food, we pursue clean labelling, making sure none of our products contain ‘red label’ ingredients; and for Thriving Communities, we have established a host of malnutrition and multistakeholder partnerships to improve the livelihoods of communities around our plants,” he says. The company’s Delmas plant produces frozen potato and sweet potato products Unathi such as fries and wedges. Mhlatyana Its Springs plant produces frozen vegetable products such as peas, sweetcorn, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, mixed veg and vegetable stir-fries. “With one in four chips worldwide being a McCain chip, potatoes will always be a key focus for the business,” says Mhlatyana. “However, South Africa is one of only two countries globally where we manufacture vegetables as well, and vegetables are a big contributor to McCain South Africa’s retail business”.

Seyizi Primary School received a delivery of freshly harvested vegetables.

TACKLING SUSTAINABILITY AND

FOOD SECURITY Sustainability and food security are a major focus for South Africa’s food producers, writes TREVOR CRIGHTON

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effect through their families and broader communities,” says Navisha Bechan-Sewkuran, Mondelēz international corporate and government affairs lead: sub-Saharan Africa. Mondelēz has been working with INMED Partnerships for Children in Brazil and South Africa for seven years, teaching good nutrition to young children. “We’ve established a three-stage programme to focus on nutrition education, giving them access to healthy food and promoting active play,” says Bechan-Sewkuran. “We looked at the schools we worked with and established food gardens on land to which they have access and taught them proper farming methods, supporting the environment and giving them access to fresh EDUCATING COMMUNITIES food. The project grew into the development of Food security is also a topic of concern for two commercial aquaponics operations. All the Mondelēz International – one it’s tackling crops produced at these facilities through partnerships and are passed on to the schools and community programmes. organisations in need in the areas “Our Health in Action in which we operate.” programme teaches people Globally, Mondelēz’s Cocoa from a young age what it means to have a healthy Life programme focuses on diet and how important it cocoa sustainability. It addresses is to grow their own fruit the challenges facing cocoa and vegetables. We believe farmers, including climate change, Navisha that if taught from a young gender inequality, poverty and Bechan Sewkuran age, the learning will stay child labour. The programme is with them and have a ripple investing $400-million by 2022 to

Our Health in Action programme teaches people from a young age what it means to have a healthy diet and how important it is to grow their own fruit and vegetables.” – Navisha Bechan-Sewkuran

McCAIN SUSTAINABILITY REPORT HIGHLIGHTS • Globally, McCain aims to implement regenerative agriculture practices on all its potato acreage by 2030, reducing CO2 per tonne from potato farming, storage and freight by 25 per cent and improving water-use efficiency by 15 per cent in regions that are water stressed. • McCain aims to cut CO2 emissions from its operations by 50 per cent by the end of the decade, with a corresponding move to 100 per cent renewable electricity. • In South Africa, the company aims to reduce storage waste from 7.2 to 6 per cent, reduce its carbon emissions by 3 400 tonnes, drop water intensity by 2.3 per cent and energy intensity by 1.8 per cent – all in the next year.

empower at least 200 000 cocoa farmers and reach one million community members in its six key cocoa-growing regions.

GREATER CONSUMER AWARENESS Mhlatyana says the younger generation is becoming far more aware and demanding when it comes to sustainability, though there is no indication that consumers are willing to pay more for products produced ethically and sustainably. Bechan-Sewkuran says that Mondelēz’s customers want to know more about how the product they’re buying has been sourced and if it’s been produced in an ethical manner. “It’s no longer just about seeing the Cocoa Life logo on a chocolate bar – some products have QR codes that customers can scan to learn more about farming and production practices”.

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INNOVAT ION

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F OOD SECURI T Y

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outh Africa is a paradox. We are not a famine country, as demonstrated by the ample stock on store shelves. We are a net exporter of food and, according to estimations by CSIR scientists, we produce enough to feed everyone in the nation. Research conducted by Professor Suzan Oelofse, principal researcher: sustainability, economics and waste at the CSIR, and her team reveals that our local food systems compare more aptly with those in first-world countries. “We are a convenience-driven society. We buy food at supermarkets and our supply chain in South Africa mirrors what is happening in Europe and other developed countries more closely than the situation in sub-Saharan Africa. The wastage we see at the production and packaging stage is very market-driven,” Oelofse says.

CONVENIENCE BREEDS FOOD INSECURITY The convenience of accessing food may aggravate food insecurity – the CSIR estimates that around 45 per cent of locally produced food is wasted. Some of that is due to poor agricultural practices such as farmers creating surplus crops because they aren’t informed about market trends. Some production waste stems from shedding food that seems blemished or is the wrong size for established production lines. Supermarkets waste because they anticipate some of their stock will not move before it expires. And consumers tend to underplan meals, often making too much food or poorly rotating what they buy. This pattern raises the price of food, but the prices are also influenced by wastage because the management costs of waste are already factored into the cost of food. “The more food we waste, the more it pushes up the prices and becomes increasingly inaccessible to the poor,” says Oelofse. South Africa has food, but ensuring convenient availability and good-looking products widens the food insecurity gap.

WASTE AND FOOD SECURITY South Africa has plenty of food. So, why are millions of people going hungry? By JAMES FRANCIS

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A PLAN FOR SUSTAINABILITY Companies subscribe to sustainability strategies that complement benchmarks such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For example, AECI’s goals are: • improving yield through sustainable agriculture • making water conservation easier • making farming more inclusive • making food healthier and more affordable • reducing food waste • redistributing unsold food • reducing the need for chemical cleaning in food transport • increasing food security during COVID-19.

“The more food we waste, the more it pushes up the prices and becomes increasingly inaccessible to the poor.”

Food insecurity in South Africa is aggravated by our high-convenience consumer culture.

– Professor Suzan Oelofse

IT STARTS WITH CONSUMERS

CLOSING THE GAP The problem requires several interventions and creative thinking. Much of the current action happens at the agriculture and production levels – especially as more shareholders demand sustainability bona fides from companies, says Roger Falck, managing director of AECI Food & Beverage: “The biggest shareholders want to know what you’re doing in terms of sustainability – not just food sustainability, but also areas such as responsible chemical manufacturing, explosives and water.” Beyond having sustainability strategies, companies like AECI are awake to the necessary sustainability requirements that address problems such as food insecurity. For

example, AECI, Spar and Woolworths run small farmer development projects and AECI invests in Khula!, a homegrown app that connects smallholding farmers to produce markets. Similar efforts are going into food production, Falck adds. “Poor processing practices, plant downtime, power and water disruptions all cause losses. We try to make sure that there’s better yield and better productivity in customer plants, reducing waste.”

Focusing on agricultural yield and increasing nutritional value plays a big role in reducing food insecurity.

Improving production efficiency and entry to markets for smallholder farmers is crucial for ensuring greater access to food.

The size of South Africa’s market makes it uneconomical to produce certain foods, ingredients and additives locally, and it takes longer to capitalise better processing technologies. But we can be creative. Plenty of food is rejected at the farming or processing stages because of its size or blemishes. If we could manually sort that produce and have shops that sell such food at cheaper rates, it could reduce unemployment and create greater access to food. Oelofse says there are two areas to focus on: improving planning and reducing wastage at farms and processing plants, and raising awareness among consumers about how we enable food insecurity through our habits. “If we have awareness, then we become more concerned about how we treat our food at household level and we start thinking differently.”

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THE LINK BETWEEN AI AND CROP HEALTH A drone monitors crop health in a maize field.

How artificial intelligence is being deployed to find smarter ways to combat pests and pathogens and monitor crop health, writes PROFESSOR DAVE BERGER, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria

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rops can have pandemics too. Just like the SARS-CoV-2 virus, plant pests and pathogens do not respect international borders and present a worldwide threat to food security. One-third of crop yields globally are lost to pests and diseases. Crop epidemics are difficult to diagnose, spread quickly and are hard to track in remote rural areas. Take the maize pest, fall armyworm, for example. It entered West Africa from the Americas in 2016 and reached South Africa within one year. Fall armyworm has devastated yields across sub-Saharan Africa.

APPLYING AI’S PATTERN RECOGNITION ABILITY If artificial intelligence can recognise patterns in data, such as facial features, why not apply this to patterns of disease spots on maize leaves?

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e asked this question at the University of Pretoria (UP), where the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) has an ongoing research programme into tree and crop health. Maize underpins food security in

South Africa and yields are constantly threatened by fungal diseases of their leaves. In a recent publication, we quantifi ed a 72 per cent yield loss from northern leaf blight disease in susceptible maize grown in South Africa. In a pilot crop health monitoring project, we focused on four maize leaf diseases with distinctive symptoms, which are often found together on the same leaf – this makes it more difficult to identify each disease (see Figure 1). We developed a deep learning method for automated identification of maize diseases using photos of the leaves. These diseases are widespread in farmers’ fi elds in the wetter and hotter regions of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Fieldwork in these hotspots enabled us to create a photo collection of diseased leaves. Plant pathologists went through these photos and classifi ed them based on the diseases shown on the leaves. These classifications formed the “ground truth” for training a deep learning model using a method called convolutional neural networks.

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INNOVAT ION: PL A N T HE A LT H USING AI TO COMBAT PESTS AND PATHOGENS Artificial intelligence (AI) is being deployed to find smarter ways to combat pests and pathogens. Crop health is critical to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially SDG2 – Zero Hunger. To raise global awareness, the United Nations through the Food and Agriculture Organisation designated the International Year of Plant Health in 2020 (IYPH 2020). The good news is that South African scientists, innovators and policy-makers are at the coal face in the fight against pests and pathogens, as reported

Artificial intelligence could bring about a revolution in crop health monitoring as instead of the “plant doctor” going to the field, we can bring the field to the “doctor”. in the recent public discussion forum of the National Science and Technology Forum entitled “Plant health in South Africa – threats to biosecurity, biodiversity and food security”. Monitoring of pests and diseases is where AI is set to make a major impact on crop health. Real-time surveillance is needed to identify the

WHAT IS AI AND HOW WOULD THIS WORK? Artificial intelligence (AI) is a computer system able to perform tasks usually requiring human intelligence. AI is already built into many aspects of our daily lives such as GPS route selection, Netflix movie recommendations and facial recognition. AI identifies patterns, such as facial features, in the data. Two common AI approaches are machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL). Both can be used for facial recognition, for example. ML is based on predefined measurements of each image (face shape, distance between eyes, nose width) after which a series of classifier

algorithms are used to “learn” to identify a person from many other facial images. On the other hand, DL “mimics” the human brain by implementing a series of neural networks that “learn” to identify patterns in the images that distinguish one person from another. Both methods require large datasets, usually containing a training set that the developer has labelled (for example, with the person’s name). ML requires smaller datasets, but requires more decision-making by the developer to set up the features that should be measured in each image.

This means that when shown a new photo of a diseased maize leaf, the deep learning model can identify the disease. In other words, it has “learned” how to identify the diseases based on the initial “ground truth” photos. The artificial intelligence (AI) model identified the correct disease 75 per cent of the time. However, the power of AI is that the more accurate data you feed the model, the better it performs at prediction. We expect the accuracy to increase to more than 90 per cent.

samples from grain crops); surveillance apps for the capture of pest and disease data and photos; and geographic information system-enabled data analysis tools powered by AI for pest and disease identification, mapping of epidemics in time and space, and prediction of future scenarios.

disease-causing culprits, the farms affected, and how fast an epidemic is spreading. When it comes to crop health, plant pathologists are the “plant doctors”, experts in the identification of crop pests and diseases. If a farmer spots an unknown disease symptom on the crop, he calls in a plant pathologist for a diagnosis. If the disease is severe, samples are sent to a diagnostic clinic for laboratory analysis, very much like a doctor sending you for a COVID-19 test. Artificial intelligence could bring about a revolution in crop health monitoring as instead of the “plant doctor” going to the field, we can bring the field to the “doctor”. The diagnosis would be done by a mobile app powered by AI. Anyone could take a photo of a diseased maize leaf using their phone and upload it to the cloud for automated identification by AI. This would dramatically improve the efficiency whereby plant pathologists deal with crop epidemics in real-time. They could then focus their efforts on priority outbreaks or potential threats of invasive pests and pathogens.

Figure 1: Maize leaf with multiple disease symptoms.

We developed a deep learning method for automated identification of maize diseases using photos of the leaves.

IMAGE: ISTOCK.COM, SUPPLIED

PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION The exciting development from this research is its practical application in crop health monitoring countrywide and across the continent. Our goal is to develop a mobile app that integrates into a larger biosecurity hub. Such a plant health biosecurity hub is one of the programmes of Innovation Africa @UP. There are three essential elements: a cloud-based database of plant disease sample identifications from the diagnostic clinic (35 000 samples already processed for the forestry industry with additional

THE IMPACT OF AI ON FOOD SECURITY IN SOUTH AFRICA Artificial intelligence’s (AI) impact on food security in South Africa can be illustrated by a few scenarios, which are likely to become reality very soon. Mpumalanga: A farmer or citizen scientist is the first to give early warning of a new invasive fungal pathogen from a neighbouring country by uploading a photo to the AI disease ID app. Kwazulu-Natal: A farmer enjoys morning coffee in bed while a drone takes off

automatically, scans the fields and sprays fungicides on only those plants with disease symptoms. Eastern Cape: Crop protection managers track in real-time the maize disease epidemic across the SADC region and dispatch plant pathologists and agricultural extension officers to remote rural areas to advise smallholder farmers on disease control methods.

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THE FUTURE OF FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA

As a significant financier in the agricultural sector, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking is heavily invested in the wellbeing of agriculture and the deeper imperative of contributing to food security

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n the second year of COVID-19, greater emphasis is being placed on some pressing food security dilemmas – most not new, but now elevated. Some forces resulting from population growth now seem to be out of control: • Populations in Africa specifically have become poorer and more food insecure. • Urbanisation and the growth of slums seem to be picking up speed and strength. These populations will be dependent on high-yielding agricultural production to feed them. • Water scarcity is expected to increase significantly over the next decade, and despite advancements in agricultural science, there may be reductions in grain production in 10 years’ time. • Climate change as well as the damage and loss to natural ecosystems through urbanisation, exploitation and “slash-and-burn” practices are destroying the earth’s ability to repair itself.

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• A very sizeable portion of food production in Africa is lost in the logistics chain. Some estimates indicate as much as 35 per cent, but even the most favourable estimates indicate more than 20 per cent. This is astounding in a continent that is not food secure. These forces are alarming, but send a strong message that the world needs a clear and urgent call to action.

THE IMPERATIVES Where does this leave agriculture as an industry? There are many debates to be had, but the imperatives are as follows: • Yields will have to improve significantly. It is not only sufficient that we produce more

food, but we also have to do it more efficiently. This means less consumption of land, water and power relative to current production. Over the past year, we have seen increases in the production of grains in important sub-Saharan countries. These were mostly due to increases in land use and favourable rains – yields per hectare have remained the lowest in the world, and this is not going to help us in the future. • The vast majority of African farmers are small-scale farmers, producing on farms less than five hectares. This limits the access and affordability to yield-enhancing mechanisms such as mechanisation, more sophisticated seeds, farming technology and know-how. It poses

IT IS NOT ONLY SUFFICIENT THAT WE PRODUCE MORE FOOD, BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO DO IT MORE EFFICIENTLY. THIS MEANS LESS CONSUMPTION OF LAND, WATER AND POWER RELATIVE TO CURRENT PRODUCTION.

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A B S A A DV ER T ORI A L

achieved if input suppliers, governments, finance institutions and off-takers develop models that can serve small farmers. Farming is risky, and this will require risk-sharing between the participants in the right projects with good implementation and support. There are already successes in this area and these can be built upon.

challenges to policy and the implementation of technology, logistics and finance, which are different compared to larger-scale commercial farming. • Logistics networks will have to improve significantly to not only reduce losses of current production, but also effectively transport and store the increased production required in the future. While Africa is indeed the continent with the most remaining unrealised agripotential, it is also the least developed in terms of logistics – the contradiction and need for improvement are obvious.

RESOLVING THE IMPERATIVES

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The more complex dilemma is what needs to happen to achieve the desired outcomes. Numerous actions and decisions are needed in the following key categories: Good government and good government policies Looking at the challenges facing agriculture, it becomes clear that government support is very important. This must be done through sound policies and governance and prioritising physical and nonphysical infrastructure. On the policy front, much can be done to assist agriculture. An obvious measure is to allow genetically-modified (GM) seeds, especially for grains production. While this is an easy win, many countries do not allow GM seeds and there is little chance of making progress in food security without GM seeds being allowed. Another issue is policy measures to ease imports and exports (red tape), and investments into agricultural research aligned with a country’s natural production opportunities. Investment into physical “public goods” infrastructure such as roads, electricity, railways and ports are obvious. When speaking about good government policies, the topic of “expropriation without compensation” in the South African context cannot be left without comment. The

GOVERNMENTS, DEVELOPMENT FINANCE INSTITUTIONS, INPUT SUPPLIERS AND OFF-TAKERS HAVE TO SHARE RISK IN VARYING DEGREES WHEN FINANCING SMALL-SCALE PRIMARY PRODUCTION. commercial agricultural sector is a strategic asset and advantage for South Africa, which is one of the few countries in Africa that is foodsecure and a net exporter of food. Any policy measures that threaten this sector will have dire consequences for food security, social and economic stability. Against a growing population, this sector must be protected in the interest of all South Africans. No economic progress can be made without the certainty of property rights. This statement also recognises that there is a lot that can be done to improve the prospects of South Africa’s small-scale farmers. An obvious obstacle to the idea that talented small farmers can develop into larger commercial ones is the issue of land rights and security of tenure – these are easy problems to solve with the correct policy measures. Private sector investment and partnerships between private and public sectors In commercial agriculture, we can see that investment follows good policies. Examples of this are seen in certain projects undertaken by a good number of countries in Africa. The structure of farming in Africa where the vast majority of people involved is on a small-scale basis, poses challenging problems though: while we need commercialisation, it is politically and socially vital that these small farmers also improve their yields and prospects. A dualistic approach is required where commercial farming is recognised as a desired outcome, and the required strategies to improve access to finance, seeds, technology, and knowledge to small-scale farmers are in place. This can only be

Appropriate financing structures As mentioned above, farming is risky and commercial banks cannot carry the developmental risk of agriculture on their balance sheets. There is some “noncommercial” risk they can take, but this is limited in the developmental sphere. In this arena, governments, development finance institutions, input suppliers and off-takers have to share risk in varying degrees when financing small-scale primary production. As far as larger-scale commercial agriculture is concerned, financing models and appetites are relatively well developed. An area for expansion is commodity finance post-harvesting of crops. Absa is already fairly heavily involved in this arena with the largest market share in South Africa. This is made possible by a very sophisticated grain storage and logistics network. Given the large investment some private sector food companies are undertaking in Africa, financing in the value chain with commodity and trade finance structures will be a growing area.

PARTNERSHIPS AND FOCUSED STRATEGIES Taking all of the above into account, it is clear that the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population is a daunting task. Making headway can only be achieved by the urgent and precise implementation of focused strategies by all the involved parties. As Africa’s leading Pan-African banking group with specialist skills in this critical field, we look forward to partnering with government and organisations in the efforts to enhance food security on the continent.

➔ Scan this QR code to go directly to the Absa CIB website.

For more information: Roux.Wildenboer@absa.africa www.cib.absa.africa www.linkedin.com/showcase/absa-cib/ twitter.com/AbsaSouthAfrica www.facebook.com/AbsaSouthAfrica

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INNOVAT ION

*Source: Cereals & Grains Association July-August 2020

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INNOVAT ION: EN T REPRENEURS

INNOVATION

ROC Water Technologies and BN Aqua Solutions create clean drinking water from mine water.

IN FOOD SAFETY BILLY BOKAKO, senior manager, Green Economy at The Innovation Hub, writes that we must look to local scientists and entrepreneurs to provide solutions to South Africa’s food security challenges

THE IMPACT OF WATER POLLUTION ON FOOD SECURITY Unfortunately, water pollution negatively impacts food security when water used for agricultural processes is not clean or is considered unsafe for consumption. Unclean water affects the end food product, deeming it unsafe to eat. As more people move into cities and towns, several factors cause water pollution, such as the physical disturbance of land due to the construction of houses, industries, roads, and chemical pollution from industries and mines. This, in turn, creates water scarcity due to the lack of sufficient water needed to grow and process food, create energy, and serve communities with a continually increasing population.

PREVENTING WATER SCARCITY THROUGH INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS New innovative solutions to our country’s water scarcity and food security problems are needed. Several entrepreneurs have come up with solutions. By providing clean drinking water for use in agricultural processes, they are positively contributing to ensuring future food security for all South African citizens. ROC Water Technologies has designed a reverse osmosis/cooling process for the treatment of acid mine water to recover drinking water and saleable products in various stages. In addition, pigment, aluminium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate and elemental sulphur can be extracted from the mine water to be used in various other innovative processes. BN Aqua Solutions takes acidic mine water from underground and treats the contaminated water using an otherwise “waste” product – a byproduct of a metallurgical process that has been stockpiled without use. This innovation results in clean drinking water that can be used for agricultural operations and reduced waste material.

FOOD SECURITY MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH INNOVATION Other entrepreneurs incubated at the Innovation Hub are working on food security innovations. Lefakong Farming is passionate about health and wellness and has invested in the quality assurance and true organic nature of moringa tree leaves. The company processes the leaves into tea, powder, and many other forms of natural health foods.

Entrepreneurs and scientists need to work together to assess our country’s unique situation regarding water pollution and food security as the two go hand in hand. 16

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Lefakong Farming produces tea and other products from moringa.

Phumelele Solutions is a worm-farming business that transforms horticultural, fruit and vegetable waste into an organic liquid pesticide and fertiliser, called Zuka. Zuka is a two-in-one pesticide and fertiliser, giving farmers the benefit of both pesticide and fertiliser in a single application during irrigation. These two products are then harvested and sold to nurseries and home-based gardeners. Innovation is the solution to South Africa’s water scarcity and food security issues. Entrepreneurs and scientists need to work together to assess our country’s unique situation regarding water pollution and food security as the two go hand in hand. THE INNOVATION HUB

GLOBAL CITIZEN ARTICLE

STATISTICS SA REPORT ON FOOD SECURITY IMAGES: SUPPLIED

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ecent statistics from a Global Citizen article on increased food insecurity in South Africa suggest that eleven per cent of South Africans or 1.7 million households (Statistics SA) are affected by severe hunger. Not all homes have access to adequate food supply to keep their families well fed. Furthermore, the food security problem is intensified by water scarcity in our country. The supply of clean water for drinking, bathing and agricultural processes presents a challenge for which solutions must urgently be found. We must begin to leverage all the solutions we can to start effectively addressing these challenges. I believe local scientists and entrepreneurs hold the key to developing a South African-focused solution to our food security issues.

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2021/10/05 3:27 PM


M A RINE PRO T EC T ED A RE A S

PEOPLE NEED THE OCEAN TO THRIVE Without good functioning, oceanic ecosystems life would be impossible on our planet, writes environmentalist and MPA guide SINEGUGU ZUKULU

MPAs that are effectively implemented and enforced, support biodiversity conservation, boost fisheries yield for local communities, support climate change adaptation, and much more. Pondoland

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he oceans cover 72 per cent of our planet, regulating our climatic systems and supplying about 50 per cent of the oxygen on our planet. Therefore, ecosystem goods and services supplied by the ocean are not limited to coastal communities, but all life on the planet. People need nature to thrive, but nature does not need people to thrive. Taking care of all creation is everybody’s responsibility, and we need to up education and awareness around this. Awareness alone may not lead to actions to protect and conserve oceans, however, only when we are all aware and educated about these linkages, will we then take serious action to protect the oceans and thus sustain other life forms on the planet.

IMAGES: JUDY MANN, SUPPLIED

THE IMPORTANCE OF MARINE PROTECTED AREAS Establishing marine protected areas (MPA) helps us to maintain biological diversity. MPAs that are effectively implemented and enforced, support biodiversity conservation, boost fisheries yield for local communities, support climate change adaptation, and much more. They are essential for safeguarding the resources and ecosystem services provided by the ocean and long-term sustainable development. Coastal communities that rely on oceans for their livelihood stand to benefit more where planning and management of the MPA has considered their needs. About 17–50 per cent of protein in our food comes from the oceans, and billions of people depend on the ocean as a source of food and income. MPAs, therefore, remain the best tool

Sinegugu Zukulu

for protecting the ocean, and helping it maintain its resilience against the effects of human interference and climate change.

STEWARDSHIP AND OTHER MEASURES If the MPA journey is to be implemented successfully it must be done jointly with the local communities whose lives are dependent on the ocean. Involvement must include all phases: preliminary engagements, legislation, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Failure to include the local communities may collapse the intentions no matter how good they are. Indigenous knowledge of the local people must be thoroughly investigated and understood to find a way to use it as a basis or foundation for conservation. Local people must take responsibility for patrolling and enforcing compliance with help from officials.

Capacity building, education and awareness for local communities must be given. Local communities need not be seen as enemies of the MPA, but rather as stewards who will ensure its successful implementation. Climate scientists have analysed evidence on nine components of our climate system – referred to as “tipping points” because they are under growing threat of abrupt and irreversible changes. The majority of these are on the oceans or ocean edges. So protection of the oceans needs to be a priority. Governments must revisit the plan to mine oean floors for oil and gas – exploration for oil and gas remains the biggest threat to MPAs and our oceans in general. For as long as we allow greed to be stronger than the desire to protect nature, the collapse of our ecosystems and resultant suffering will be inevitable. As a country and global community, we must start looking at nonharvesting forms of economic activities for coastal communities. For example, the development of nonconsumptive economic activities such as boat tours, diving into coral reefs and aquaculture. Threats of trawlers that come to our shores and enter MPAs during the night pose the biggest threat to our MPAs. People with engine-propelled boats who travel long distances to come fish, unmonitored, in MPAs cause more harm than local people with less sophisticated fishing gear who fish from the rocks along the shoreline.

About 17–50 per cent of protein in our food comes from the oceans, and billions of people depend on the ocean as a source for food and income. MPAs, therefore, remain the best tool for protecting the ocean. W O R L D F O O D D AY

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AFRICA FOOD SAFETY WORKSHOP 2022 27 JUNE — 01 JULY 2022

EMPERORS PALACE, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Join us for this Workshop to promote food safety standards, reliable analytical methods, and inter-institutional cooperation, for better public health and trade.

Join Industry Experts discussing a variety of Food Safety related topics including: • Advances in screening and confirmatory analysis applied to food safety testing

• Notification and responses in terms of Food Borne illnesses/outbreaks and epidemiology

• Measurement standards, inter-laboratory comparisons and proficiency testing

• Equivalence: Recognising each other’s capabilities and good practices

• Food monitoring activities and contributions towards MRLs/MLs

• Regional approaches - transboundary hazard testing

• Risk Assessment capabilities in Africa: Exposure evaluation

• Scientific capacity building and reliable testing laboratory services

• Food safety education, the private sector and stakeholder awareness

• Sanitary and Phytosanitary standards within the AfCFTA

And more For more information contact FoodSafetyWorkshop@nmisa.org Details on registrations, presentations, and exhibition opportunities will be loaded on the NMISA website soon: www.nmisa.org

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Calibration CRMs Ochratoxin A

Sale price for 4 units is R3 500

Zearalenone

Deoxynivalenol

Sale price for 2 units is R1 730

Sale price for 2 units is R2 000

PROFICIENCY TESTING SCHEMES Register for any 2 of these PTSs and receive a Wheat flour CRM worth R7 500 free • Nutritional content in Fortified milk Powder PT-75 (Oct 2021) only R3 500 • Vitamin A and nutritional elements in fortified food matrix PT-70 (Jan 2022) only R4 000 • Aflatoxin M1 in milk powder PT 65 only R3 000

MATRIX QC MATERIALS Sodium in Food matrices QC materials • Stock Powder (4) • Crisps • Noodles • Lyophilised viennas

All 7 for only R2 500

Email ReferenceMaterials@nmisa.org

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Sale ends on 26 November 2021 (Black Friday)

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PACK AGING

FOOD SAFETY, FUTURE FOOD SUPPLIES AND PACKAGING Historically seen as two separate areas, health and the environment are two converging issues within the food and beverage industry – perhaps the first manufacturing sector to see this trend, writes STEFAN FAGERÄNG, managing director of Tetra Pak South Africa

Be: Natural Perspective

INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY An illustration of a practical response by the food and beverage industry to what consumers want from manufacturers is the technology of energy-efficient juices, nectar and still drinks (JNSD) production lines. Sustainability is at its core, helping drinks producers dramatically lower their operating costs. JNSD takes beverage processing to a new level of efficiency by using a unique combination of pasteurisation, filtration and UV light technology to treat beverages in two separate streams, which are aseptically blended into the final beverage. Instead of

DID YOU KNOW?

Findings from the Tetra Pak Index 2020 research report show that the top six packaging characteristics rated most important by consumers all relate to food safety with longer protection of the content and ensured hygiene also scoring highly. The top environmental characteristic, recyclability, rates seventh at 41 per cent.

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pasteurising the whole volume of the product, the new production line separates water and pasteurises only the concentrate. Water is treated separately with filtration and UV light, which requires much less energy. This meets key sustainability objectives by decreasing water consumption by up to half and lowering energy consumption by up to two-thirds. This is the perfect amalgamation of innovation and technology as drivers of sustainability. Innovations in packaging are important for enabling food producers to meet increased demand for a reduced environmental impact. It particularly holds the potential to drastically

reduce food waste and make more food available to low-income consumers. Thereafter, innovation must unleash the full potential of recycling. Unfortunately, carton recycling infrastructures currently still lack scale and optimised investments, though there are industry-wide initiatives with regard to the “circular economy”. This full-chain approach involves various initiatives from the industry, from increasing the use of renewable electricity in factories and improving the operations of equipment at manufacturing sites to increasing energy efficiency and reducing water consumption. By incorporating this approach in packaging production methods and reducing the environmental effects of operations, the industry can turn a circular economy into low-carbon business opportunities. Food packaging must address three concerns in South Africa: long-lasting food; safe food; and environmentally sustainable packaging made from plants. All industry players should collectively aim to reach this achievable target. Tetra Pak is on a journey to create the ultimate sustainable food package – a carton made solely from responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials – that is fully recyclable and carbon-neutral, allowing ambient distribution and meeting food safety requirements.

TETRA PAKS JOURNEY TO SUSTAINBLE FOOD PACKAGING

TETRA PAK INDEX 2020 REPORT

Consumers want to see less energy consumed in the manufacturing process and greater implementation of a post-consumer “circular package journey”, which must include packaging made entirely of renewable resources.

IMAGE: SUPPLIED

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ealth and the environment can no longer be seen as separate issues. Emerging consumer and social concerns, highlighted in the Tetra Pak Index 2020 research report, show a 10 per cent leap – 30 per cent in 2019 to 40 per cent in 2020 – in global concern about food safety and future food supplies from the previous year. Increasing industry research into more sustainable packaging mirrors this trend. Consumers want to see less energy consumed in the manufacturing process and greater implementation of a post-consumer “circular package journey”, which must include packaging made entirely of renewable resources. Consumers are increasingly interested in improved recyclability and widespread recycling systems. For instance, numerous consumers want long-life packaging, which is easy to carry and store while retaining sufficient nutrition.

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2021/10/05 3:30 PM


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2021/06/29 10:54 AM


Meet Our Dedicated Team of Chicken Farmers.

We give the same amount of time and care to all the chickens we raise…one thing chicken farming will teach you is patience. Jacob - Chicken Farm Manager