Standard Bank feeds millions of vulnerable South Africans and supports thousands of farmers

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Standard Bank, South Africa has gone beyond providing just financial services and is feeding millions of the country’s vulnerable population. Through its OneFarm Share initiative, the bank has provided meals to over 1 million individuals.

The initiative matches requests for food relief to suppliers, with excess good quality fresh produce. From November 9 last year over 270 tonnes of food have been distributed to accredited beneficiary organisations.

The bank aims to increase the OneFarm Share initiative’s, by delivering 7400 tonnes of food across all nine provinces.

This is equivalent to over 30 million meals.

“The need for food relief is greater than ever, with over 12 million South Africans unsure where their next meal will come from,” says Lungisa Fuzile, the CEO, Standard Bank South Africa.

“Farmers are aware of this need but are unable to meet it without a clear mechanism to manage the requests for donations, and an efficient process to donate food.

How it works

The partnership provides a digital platform where emerging and commercial farmers sell or donate their produce to new markets.

‘’OneFarm Share brings all the players from producers and logistics companies to consumers and beneficiaries under a single digital platform where needs can instantly be identified and addressed.”

Agriculture has been prioritised by the Standard Bank Group as one of its top five ecosystems. As a result, the OneFarmPlatform has been launched as a digital business-to-business platform providing services across the agricultural ecosystem through Lend, Protect, Grow, Trade, and Share services. Besides South Africa, the platform has been piloted in Uganda since August 2019.

In South Africa, the platform was launched through the OneFarm Share as a result of the food crisis caused by Covid-19 lockdowns and to increase the sustainability of farming operations in the country.

Valuable partnerships

The bank  has partnered with HelloChoice, a South African AgriTech, with a digital fresh produce marketplace and FoodForward SA, the largest food distribution non-profit organisation in South Africa.

FoodForward SA focuses on the recovery and redistribution of edible surplus food from the supply chain(including retailers, manufacturers, and farmers).

By partnering with organisations that had existing capabilities helped the initiative was up and running within four months.

“By joining forces with Standard Bank to drive the OneFarm Share initiative, we can reduce hunger and improve food security through ground-breaking online technology,” says Grant Jacobs, CEO, and co-founder of HelloChoice.

The process

The OneFarm Share platform collates food requests from registered charity organisations and aggregates them onto an online marketplace. The requests are then matched to available produce listed by farmers and food producers.

The food is then given to beneficiary organisations at a reduced cost, or as a donation. The platform facilitates the smooth delivery of the right product, to the right place, at the lowest cost.

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To accelerate the initiative, some of the bank’s Covid-relief funding was allocated to food and logistics procurement. This ensured OneFarm Share’s beneficiary partner, FoodForward SA, distributed the bulk nutritious food to the various registered and vetted community feeding programmes, early childhood development centers, facilities that care for the frail and aged, and centres that provide at-risk youth with skills, among others.

The foods include nutritious produce such as cabbages, potatoes, spinach, butternut, beetroot, and dried beans.

“The partnership with Standard Bank has enabled us to enjoy greater access to more farmers who donate into our network,” comments Andy Du Plessis, MD of FoodForward SA.

The future of the initiative

The bank plans to grow the initiative by approaching corporates with CSI funds earmarked for food relief, as well as the bank’s retail base and high net worth clients. It has also launched a SnapScan account and code for members of the public who wish to donate.

“Innovative technology has the potential to transform agriculture on the continent,” says Fuzile.

“It will also enable us to create solutions for the most vulnerable members of our society. Therefore, Standard Bank is focused on creating platform solutions that can connect and provide services to multiple players across the agricultural ecosystem.”

A unique offering with scalable potential

Mr Fuzile explains OneFarm Share is a unique offering that has not been attempted at scale in South Africa.

“The OneFarm Share initiative is not simply about providing hunger relief and reducing food wastage. It is about restimulating the economy and recreating markets for farmers who may have lost their traditional markets due to the impact of lockdown measures or beyond.

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Many have been unable to recover. The platform allows them to sell produce in a way that they may have not had access to previously: to a structure that supports the vulnerable in our society. We are excited about the enormous potential that OneFarm Share has to ensure the sustainability of agriculture and reduce the problem of hunger on the continent,” Fuzile concludes.

Donations can be made on Snapscan or through an EFT.

For more information on OneFarm Share and how you can get involved visit www.onefarmshare.co.za

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