After witnessing the devastating effects of Covid-19 and hard lockdown, Tebogo Sebambo, who runs a small farming business situated in Tarlton, near Magaliesburg, Gauteng, wanted to make a difference in any that he could.
Sebambo’s business, At Source Food Serv, grows baby vegetables such as baby carrots, cabbages, sugar snap peas and beetroot. However, as traditional market routes dried up, as a result of the pandemic environment, At Source Food Serv battled to offload its produce and sat with excess supply.
This while millions of South Africans were going hungry after losing their ability to earn an income at the time.
It was when scrolling through social media that Sebambo found a solution to his problem of market access and an opportunity to impact the lives of vulnerable individuals. This arrived in the form of OneFarm Share, an online platform that connects farmers to feeding schemes across the country.
OneFarm Share matches requests for food relief to smallholder, emerging farmers and food processors with excess fresh produce and provides a reliable, trusted, channel for them to donate their surplus food to help overcome hunger and poverty. The platform allows corporate donors and the public to help too.
Standard Bank partnered with HelloChoice, a local South African agri-tech company with a digital fresh produce marketplace and selected FoodForward SA as its beneficiary, due to its national infrastructural capacity. Since launching in November 2020, the OneFarm Share platform has delivered over 2,200 tonnes of fresh produce, which translates to eight million meals for over 700,000 people in South Africa.
The platform helps farmers get their surplus produce to the relief market fast and effectively by providing transport, logistics and warehousing support, which has been made possible as a result of FoodForward SA existing logistics and infrastructure capabilities.
Sebambo, who is also partner in a logistics company that provides mobile cool chain support to small scale farmers in the area, has contributed logistics support to the platform through Cold Chain Logistics.
Farmers can either donate their produce to the platform or sell it on special offer. Beneficiary organisations are then able to access a variety of produce that they may not ordinarily receive, and which helps them provide nutritious meals.
In February this year, At Source Food Serv made its first contribution to the platform of 1,503kgs baby cabbages for distribution to beneficiary organisations in the surrounding areas.
Sebambo is part of a growing cohort of farmers who are signed up as produce suppliers to the platform, which, he says, has created a means for farmers to reach communities that they did not have access to previously and where the food could have otherwise gone to waste.
He is encouraging other farmers to join the initiative and will continue to use the platform to expand his business and make contributions to needy individuals.
Lungisa Fuzile, CEO of Standard Bank South Africa, says: “The beauty of OneFarm Share is that it is addressing the critical issues of food wastage, hunger and malnutrition while enabling new markets for farmers.”
“Standard Bank and HelloChoice have created a means for farmers and others to easily contribute to this worthy cause.” Sebambo says that it is “our belief at At Source Food Serv is that it is our jobs, as farmers in South Africa, to give food to the people of this nation. The OneFarm Share platform is making it easier for that to become a reality, which gives us all the reason to get up in the morning.” For more information visit www.onefarmshare.co.za or email firstname.lastname@example.org.