Commitment made to reduce food waste

Estimates show about 10m tonnes, or 30%, of local agricultural production in SA is wasted each year.
Estimates show about 10m tonnes, or 30%, of local agricultural production in SA is wasted each year.
Image: 123RF/Aleksandr Volkov

The Consumer Goods Council of SA (CGCSA) on Tuesday launched the SA Food Loss and Waste Voluntary Agreement which commits food manufacturers and retailers to reduce food waste.

This will be in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal to halve global food waste by 2030.

Gareth Ackerman, co-chair of CGCSA, said they are calling on SA food manufacturers, distributors and retailers to commit themselves to prevent and reduce food waste. “Given that SA’s retailers sell about 80% of the food consumed in the country, they sit at a critical point in the value chain to influence changes to reduce some of the food waste the country generates each year.

“We have received overwhelming support from our members, among them Massmart, Danone, Tiger Brands, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Shoprite, who have already pledged to support this important initiative. More members are signing up because they believe it is the right thing to do.

“Let today’s launch be the start of an irreversible commitment to ensure our members become the catalyst for action to address food waste and food insecurity in SA,” he said.

Ackerman said it is not only morally wrong but also heartbreaking that millions of tonnes of food are thrown away while the food is perfectly safe for human consumption.

“Ultimately, the CGCSA is advocating for legislation to make it possible for surplus food, which is still safe for human consumption, to be donated to the needy as part of national goals to avert food insecurity in SA,” he said.

Thembelihle Ndukwana, director of agro processing at the department of trade & industry, said they are driving the initiative to implement Goal 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals which is meant to reduce food loss and waste in the food system.

“We appreciate the willingness of these companies, both manufacturers and retailers, to partner with government in ensuring food waste is reduced, with the aim to eliminate food waste in the near future. This is one of the efforts by SA to transition to sustainable consumption and production and achieve healthy and sustainable food systems,” Ndukwana said.

“Through international insights and expertise, collaborative dialogue and grass roots research, this dialogue series has evolved into the successful launch of a multisectoral voluntary agreement on managing food waste from farm to fork,” said Dr Bernard Rey, minister counsellor and head of co-operation at the EU delegation.

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