Food retailers aim for quality organic produce
Biz Community - Aug 18th 2010, 00:00
South African food retailers are taking strides to ensure that their offerings meet the rising consumer preference for organic and locally produced produce.
Having seen first-hand the degeneration of South Africa's soil health, Woolworths and its suppliers launched an initiative called Farming for the Future late last year.
Supported by the WWF, the programme manages farming methods and inputs to protect the fertility of the soil and produce quality fresh produce.
The holistic approach to farming combines both the best of conventional farming with the best in organic farming.
"We needed something that sat somewhere between standard commercial agriculture which is requiring more and more inputs of fertiliser and pesticides to keep yields up, somewhere between that and organic lies a much more natural happy medium, that is Farming for the Future," said Chief Executive Simon Susman.
More than half of Woolworths' fresh produce is currently grown using Farming for the Future principles and the group says that by 2012 all Woolworths locally grown fresh produce will either be produced organically or through the Farming for the Future approach.
"Our goal is to grow quality produce while minimising any negative effect on the environment and reducing farmer's dependence on chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides.
"We've learned that the way to do that is to build and maintain healthy soil and healthy plants.
"As any farmer will tell you, it takes good soil to produce good food, and without proper soil management now, South Africa will not be able to produce quality fresh produce in the future," said Susman.
Pnp sustainability efforts
In 2007 Pick n Pay launched a five-year sustainability vision that focuses on exploring local and natural farming methods, while reducing waste.
The retailer also introduced the addition of eco-friendly stores and distribution centres.
Pick n Pay's organic range supports local farmers and offers consumers 100% organic products free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers.
The food retailer is also both a partner and sponsor of The Organic Freedom Project (OFP), a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting job creation and sustainable trade in the region, through the facilitation of farming and processing of organic production.
Shoprite has also taken a positive step towards helping the environment. Freshmark, the group's fresh fruit and vegetable procuring and distribution arm, has installed a Vermi (Earthworm) Compositing system.
The system is a clean and environmentally friendly way to recycle waste into organic compost and vermi tea. Vermi tea is rich in nutrients and effective micro-organisms, making it a powerful plant tonic that encourages healthy growth and suppresses pathogenic organisms in the soil.
Although there is no current South African legislation governing organic food production, sustainable farming methods and organic produce have proven to be more than a passing fad as environmental awareness rises and consumer demand grows rapidly.
Inflation accelerates slightly in May
19/06/2019 - 11:24
Inflation accelerated slightly to 4.5% in May, giving impetus to calls for an interest cut in July.
Major food and drink firms aim to improve plastic recycling in Africa
02/04/2019 - 10:02
Diageo, Unilever, The Coca Cola Company and Nestlé have joined forces to improve the collection and recycling of plastics in Africa.
SA food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation unchanged
20/12/2018 - 15:33
South Africa’s food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation has bottomed out and will begin an upward cycle in the coming months, supported by an increase in agricultural commodities prices. The headline number will probably increase marginally as we expect the uptick in cattle and sheep slaughtering activity to contain meat price inflation at fairly lower levels in the near term which will, in turn, influence the overall increase.
Unilever among firms calling for net zero UK emissions by 2050
28/11/2018 - 09:04
Unilever, Danone and Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) are among companies which have urged the UK to aim for net zero emissions by 2050.
Woolworths launches 'One Small Spoon' campaign in celebration of World Food Day
16/10/2018 - 09:35
Woolworths celebrates World Food Day with the launch of the One Small Spoon campaign to unite its employees, customers, suppliers, farmers, and other partners in a consolidated drive to contribute to ensuring that every South African accesses sufficient, nutritious food every day.