Market conditions created as a consequence of early lockdown measures in 2020 were the catalyst for the development of Standard Bank’s OneFarm Share. Instantly diminished demand and a consequent oversupply of fresh produce presented a very real challenge for the country’s farmers. Simultaneously food security concerns driven by economic hardship and uncertainty continued to grow. While born out of the crisis and the need to match excess supply to people most in need, OneFarm Share continues to demonstrate its ability to evolve and play a valuable role in addressing larger systemic challenges in the agri-food value chain.
OneFarm Share is a platform facilitated through a partnership between HelloChoice and Standard Bank, and at its core acts as a digital match-maker 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. As the platform evolves, it has become clear that there is opportunity to uplift emerging farmers and offer CSI-as-a-service to corporate South Africa.
As a result of the great community work by Standard Bank and HelloChoice, OneFarm Share recently took first place at the 2021 EFMA Accenture Banking in Innovation Awards in the Social, Sustainable & Responsible Category; a global recognition that all the platform stakeholders and partners are incredibly proud of.
Making A Difference Across the Agri-Food Value
Since its official launch in February 2021, OneFarm Share has distributed over 5,000 tonnes of fresh produce resulting in an incredible 20 million meals being created. This has fed over one million beneficiaries across South Africa. In 2022, the aspiration is to double this volume: distributing 10,000 tonnes of fresh produce. 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.
The platform’s beneficiaries continue to benefit from a reliable supply of fresh, nutritious, South African-grown produce. 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.
Supporting Women Emerging Farmers
As a business, Standard Bank has set out to make a meaningful and valuable impact beyond traditional banking. With Agriculture selected as a priority sector, OneFarm Share has an invaluable role to play in realising this objective. As such, a key focus area for the platform is empowering women emerging farmers.
Women play a central role in the agricultural sector of South Africa, making up a significant majority of the workforce. Despite their primary role, they face numerous, daily challenges that inhibit their potential for success. This ultimately prevents their ability to economically benefit from their farming activities. Changing the dynamic for women farmers can have a very meaningful impact on the individual, their families, those they employ/work with, and ultimately the country as a whole. A few of the female farmer stories from OneFarm Share include:
Maureen Magubane, a farmer based in Mooi River in KwaZulu Natal, heads up an incredible co-op farm comprising over 20 women farmers. Each woman farms their own smallholding, with Maureen running a 130 ha 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, Maureen’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 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.
Siphiwe Sithole is another incredible networker with a farm-based in Gauteng. She brings together other small-scale farmers from across the province to fulfill requests for produce via OneFarm Share. To date, her farm has donated some produce and supplied an impressive 21 706kg of produce. She grows indigenous vegetables and deals with popular produce such as potatoes, beetroot, cabbage, and carrots. She is actively recruiting additional farmers to join her efforts as the cause is close to her heart and personal values. She is now able to mentor other farmers on the platform because of her experience, providing a valuable resource to those who want to upskill themselves and improve their farms.
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.
The Journey From Farm to Fork
In celebration of the success to date and the continued evolution of the OneFarm Share platform, we have detailed the Farm to Fork journey. “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” says Lungisa Fuzile, Standard Bank South Africa Chief Executive.
Watch the video here to learn more about this impactful platform and the various role-players:
To learn more about OneFarm Share, or to make a contribution now, visit www.onefarmshare.co.za.