Agricultural business chamber Agbiz has launched a food relief project for the most needy people in agricultural rural communities, which will receive food relief under the Agri Value Chain Relief Project – a project initiated and coordinated by Agbiz and in collaboration with Grain South Africa.
Since the national lockdown was implemented on March 26, the need for adequate food in vulnerable communities has increased rapidly.
Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase says in this time of extreme hardship, the agricultural industry can play a significant role in stabilising society and alleviating hunger among the most vulnerable of society.
To assist in countering a humanitarian crisis, Agbiz has initiated the Agri Value Chain Relief Project with organised agriculture and other role players in the agricultural value chain to provide food relief to these communities.
“Key role players in the various agricultural value chains, including producers and agribusinesses, have indicated the need for a coordinated and critical mass effort to launch a significant relief programme,” he says, adding that the project will benefit agricultural rural communities where the need is the greatest, irrespective of race, colour or creed.
Agbiz requests all major role players in the value chain to make a voluntary contribution in kind. “We are aware that there are already producers and agribusinesses contributing to relief schemes in their communities, so this will be additional to such relief programmes and does not replace such initiatives,” says Purchase.
He emphasises that participation in the Agri Value Chain Relief Project is voluntary.
The project entails that agricultural producers contribute 1 ha of dryland grain or oilseeds, or the equivalent to the value of R10 000. Further down the supply chain, the project requires grain silo owners to receive, manage, store and deliver the equivalent stock from producer donations to milling companies.
The project also requires milling companies to mill the maize and bag, free of charge, but keep the chop to cover partial expenses. In addition, livestock producers can also donate the equivalent product value to participating agribusinesses through this scheme.
Purchase notes that individual agribusinesses will identify and liaise directly with the appropriate relief service providers in the communities where they are commercially active to ensure the food aid reaches the most needy beneficiaries in as non-discriminatory and organised manner as possible.
“We need to keep the system as simple, efficient and transparent as possible, with the participating individual agribusinesses acting as the agents for the project.”
Participating agribusinesses to date include Senwes, Afgri, VKB, OVK, GWK and NWK.