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Platform making an impact from farm to fork

Home Agriculture Platform making an impact from farm to fork

MARKET conditions arising from early lockdown measures in 2020 were the catalyst for the development of Standard Bank’s OneFarm Share.

At its core, the platform acts as a digital matchmaker for food requests from registered charitable organisations and available fresh produce. The early success of the project pilot led to OneFarm Share becoming a formalised product within Standard Bank’s OneFarm offering.

OneFarm Share recently took first place at the 2021 EFMA Accenture Banking in Innovation Awards in the Social, Sustainable & Responsible Category.

Since its official launch in February 2021, OneFarm Share has distributed over 5,000 tons of fresh produce, which represents an estimated 20 million meals. There are currently 108 contributors on the platform – this cohort comprises 57 emerging farmers (of which, 19 are female), 44 commercial farmers, and 7 food producers.

Larger-scale commercial farmers, with produce that is not-to-spec or excess to offtake contracts, are provided with an opportunity to donate or sell (at a reduced price); this significantly reduces food waste and has a positive impact on the environment.

Logistics coordination often sees the use of empty return loads to collect produce directly from the farmers, and thereby reducing the total cost of food distribution. Corporate South Africa can utilise OneFarm Share’s CSI-as-a-service; with the platform providing a conduit for those wanting to donate to food relief through a transparent and auditable channel, as well as being able to support enterprise development, supplier development and a range of additional key CSI focus areas.

For emerging farmers, OneFarm Share has created a reliable route-to-market, ensured guaranteed buyers, and assisted in securing fair market-price for their produce.

A key focus area for the platform is empowering women emerging farmers. Standard Bank recently shared some success stories in this regard.

Maureen Magubane, KZN

Maureen Magubane, a farmer based in Mooi River in KwaZulu Natal, heads up a co-op farm comprising over 20 women farmers. Each woman farms their own smallholding, with Magubane running a 130ha farm focusing on maize. They then market their produce as a collective.

The co-op is able to supply samp, dry beans, cabbages, beetroot, and spinach. Through OneFarm Share and HelloChoice, Magubane’s produce was matched with demand enabling her to sell the produce more consistently. It has also given her, and the other women farmers in her co-op, the confidence to plan and grow according to consistent demand.

Lucy Nxusa, KZN

Lucy Nxusa is a farmer based in Wartburg who grows amadumbi, sweet potatoes, and green mielies. She faced challenges caused by the imbalance in the power dynamic between herself and buyers and was being haggled on pricing and payment terms.

With access to a HelloChoice representative to provide a balanced view, she was able to effectively market her produce and secure her requested farm-gate price. In addition, she received same-day payments for the sale of her produce (instead of her usual 2+ week delay experienced in the open market).

This season, OneFarm Share helped her sell 75% of her produce through the platform and helped her gain access to new buyers.

uMsinga farmers, KZN

uMsinga is a remote, underserviced area located along the banks of the Tugela River in rural KwaZulu Natal. As part of the Tugela Ferry scheme, around 1,500 small scale farmers – primarily women – work the land manually, growing crops such as maize, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, beans, beetroot, spinach and butternut.

Lacking access to transport, these women farmers usually hawk as much of their produce as they can carry to the roadside, many kilometres from their small subsistence plots. During this year’s potato season, OneFarm Share worked together with LIMA (a rural development foundation) to reach these emerging female farmers.

A market-related price was secured for the potatoes and the much-needed transportation was provided to collect the produce directly from their fields. Pallets were provided and assistance was given with standardising their packaging. It had been found that in some instances bags were overpacked by up to 2kg – presenting a significant profit loss for these farmers.

Through this effort, the uMsinga female farmers earned a consistent income and gained invaluable commercial market experience.

“We are incredibly proud of the work being done through OneFarm Share. It is testament to the power of collaboration and the utilisation of innovative technology as a means to solve real-world problems whilst making a meaningful impact” said Lungisa Fuzile, Standard Bank South Africa Chief Executive.

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