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SA Harvest calls on the logistics industry for support in reducing food waste and hunger


Image: SA Harvest trucks collecting nutritious food from a generous donor
SA Harvest trucks collecting nutritious food from a generous donor

SA Harvest, a leading food rescue and hunger relief organisation in South Africa, is drawing attention to the critical role of logistics in reducing food waste and hunger. With over10.3 million tonnes of edible food wasted annually in South Africa, while 20 million people are on the spectrum of food vulnerability, SA Harvest is working to bridge the gap by rescuing surplus food from farms, manufacturers, and retailers, and distributing it to those in need.


An immediate and urgent need has arisen, resulting from the generous donation of 1 000 tonnes of citrus fruit from Indigo Fruit Farming. Ozzy Nel, Chief Operating Officer of SA Harvest, says, “The donation of the fruit is just one piece of the food rescue puzzle. It is a massive logistical undertaking to transport 68 tonnes of fruit every week from the packhouse in Nelspruit to either Durban or Johannesburg. We are calling on the logistics and transport industry to support us in ensuring that this nutritious, vitamin-rich fruit reaches our beneficiary organisations in Durban and Johannesburg. We are grateful to have secured support from Unitrans and Maersk, who are providing trucks for the first four weeks of this joint venture in food rescue, and from HelloChoice, who have procured the agri bins. This leaves us with a weekly transport requirement of 68 tonnes of citrus between Nelspruit and either Johannesburg or Durban between 5 June and 28 August. We are also in need of trucks to return the agri bins to Nelspruit each week.”


Nel explains that the bulk of food loss and waste in South Africa is associated with processing and packaging, with 49% lost, followed by 19% lost during the post-harvest handling and storage phase, and 18% at the consumer/household level. Cereals contribute half of the overall losses and waste, followed by fruit and vegetables (19%), milk (14%) and meat (9%). SA Harvest works with food donors such as manufacturers, farmers, and retailers to rescue this food and redirect it to beneficiaries who convert it into nutritious meals.


Logistics plays a crucial role in SA Harvest's food rescue operations, from coordinating with food donors to collecting and transporting surplus food to ensuring the safe and efficient distribution of the food to local community organisations and charities. The organisation has a fleet of refrigerated and other vehicles operating from warehouses in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Lusikisiki. A proprietary technology platform is being built to enhance the organisation’s logistics capability, which will help maximise the efficiency of the entire food rescue supply chain. “This platform will allow for knowledge and data sharing with NGOs and other key stakeholders and bring about the collaboration needed to build solutions. It empowers how we tackle the problem of food waste in South Africa and eventually scale sufficiently for our industry to be more effective.”


SA Harvest currently receives support from logistics companies such as Meridian Logistix, Maersk, Waterford Carriers, Time Link Cargo, Unitrans and Bulldog Hauliers. These companies provide crucial logistical support in the form of transportation, enabling SA Harvest to rescue and redistribute even more surplus food. However, the organisation is calling on the logistics industry for more support to assist with reverse logistics and transport of surplus food to their warehouses.


Nel urges transport companies with vehicles of all sizes to register with SA Harvest as logistics partners. "By registering with us, transport companies can provide much-needed logistical support and transport when their capacity allows. This will allow us to rescue even more surplus food and get it to those who need it most," he added.


In addition to reducing food waste and helping those in need, food rescue has significant environmental benefits. By rescuing and redistributing surplus food, SA Harvest is helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of food waste on the environment.


SA Harvest is able to issue a Section 18A certificate to all donors of tangible, billable products and services, including logistics. Section 18A certificates allow organisations to deduct up to 10 percent of their taxable income.


Since its inception in October 2019, SA Harvest has delivered the equivalent of 40 million meals and rescued 12 million kilograms of food from going to waste.


Logistics companies interested in partnering with SA Harvest can contact Margolite Williams on 079 495 4433 or margolite@saharvest.org. For more information on SA Harvest, please visit their website atwww.saharvest.org. “Any assistance with our immediate need for transport between Nelspruit and Johannesburg or Durban will be of enormous value in ensuring that the generous donation of citrus fruit from Indigo Fruit Farming reaches the people who need it so desperately,” concludes Nel.


Image: Collecting nutritious food to deliver it to beneficiary organisations requires significant logistical capabilities and resources
Collecting nutritious food to deliver it to beneficiary organisations requires significant logistical capabilities and resources

Image: Donations are collected across the food supply chain, including the agricultural sector, manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and retail
Donations are collected across the food supply chain, including the agricultural sector, manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and retail

Image: Efficient and timely collection of nourishing food ensures it can be distributed to food vulnerable communities before it spoils
Efficient and timely collection of nourishing food ensures it can be distributed to food vulnerable communities before it spoils

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