South Africa’s Food Waste Crisis: Inspiring Collective Action for a Sustainable Tomorrow

South Africa’s rich culinary heritage is marred by a pressing challenge: food waste. Annually, we discard a staggering 10 million tonnes of food, equivalent to filling six sports stadiums. This waste comes at a significant cost, amounting to R61.5 billion annually, or 2.1% of GDP, exacerbating food insecurity in our society (

Fruits and vegetables make up a significant portion of this waste, with 2 million tonnes discarded due to superficial reasons. Shockingly, 1 in 5 imperfect fruits and vegetables, still nutritionally intact, end up in landfills. Processing, packaging, and consumption contribute to 67% of food loss, while factors like oversupply and post-harvest fluctuations account for 44% of wasted produce, emitting harmful greenhouse gases (

Despite these challenges, there is hope. Research shows that imperfect produce retains its nutritional value, and consumers are increasingly open to purchasing it. Initiatives such as OneFarm Share lead the charge, redistributing misfit produce to those in need, providing over 21,555 tonnes of fresh produce and 86 million meals. As consumers and producers, we must act collectively. Supporting initiatives such as OneFarm Share, championing local farmers, and embracing imperfect produce can reshape our approach to food waste and ensure every meal serves a purpose.

AgriSA, alongside partners AVBOB, McCain, and OneFarm Share, is spearheading efforts to raise awareness and inspire sustainable action. Through collaborative initiatives, we aim to combat food waste and promote responsible consumption practices. The Feast of Purpose event hosted on 15 March 2024 is an example of such initiative.

Let’s forge a future where every morsel matters, driving towards sustainability and zero hunger.