SOUTH AFRICA – The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has announced its reception of a substantial US$15 million funding allocation from the Ballmer Group, directed toward the climate action non-governmental organization, WRAP.

This funding infusion, highlighted in a recent LinkedIn post by CGCSA, is set to play a pivotal role in fortifying voluntary initiatives aimed at combatting the critical issue of food loss and waste across several nations, including South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, and forthcoming efforts in Brazil.

Matlou B. Setati (Tsebe), the Executive of Food Safety and Sustainability Initiative, expressed profound enthusiasm regarding this financial support, emphasizing its potential to accelerate and magnify the impact of ongoing endeavors to curtail food loss and waste throughout the supply chain, extending its reach to households.

Moreover, Zinhle Tyikwe, CEO of CGCSA, anticipates that this funding injection will serve as a catalyst for increased corporate commitment to food loss and waste reduction efforts in South Africa.

The aim is to foster comprehensive engagement among all critical stakeholders in realizing this pivotal objective.

According to a 2023 report by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE), a staggering one-third of the 31 million tonnes of food produced annually in South Africa, equivalent to 10 tonnes, ends up in landfills.

The report further reveals that three-quarters of this food loss and waste occur prior to reaching the retail stage, amounting to 8.4 million tonnes or 76% of the total.

Breaking down the figures provided by DFFE, food loss and waste primarily occur in processing and packaging (5.4 million tonnes), post-harvest handling and storage (2.1 million tonnes), and at the primary-production stage (0.9 million tonnes).

The remaining 24%, constituting 2.7 million tonnes, encompasses wastage at wholesale, retail, and consumer levels.

The monetary implications of this staggering food loss and waste are profound, as highlighted by DFFE’s findings.

The net production value lost to food loss and waste across the entire supply chain amounted to a staggering R115 billion (US$6.08 billion) in 2016, equivalent to 2.4% of South Africa’s GDP that year, valued at R4.76 trillion (US$251.71 billion).

However, the efficacy of strategies to address this issue remains uncertain in the absence of a legal mandate.

There is ambiguity surrounding how the government plans to incentivize compliance among government departments and the private sector, monitor and evaluate the impact of initiatives, and quantify their effectiveness.

Nonetheless, this new funding initiative is poised to instigate significant change in the ongoing battle against food loss, waste, and the broader challenge of climate change.

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