This project involves the trial of a cellular phone networking platform to connect small-scale fresh produce growers in South Africa, with markets to divert surplus crop that may otherwise be discarded and/or to find higher-value for their produce. The aim of the project is to reduce food loss and waste that occurs on farm in South Africa, whilst improving the livelihoods of producers and their communities.
The aim will be to identify the most applicable cellular approach for small-scale farmers (both urban and rural) e.g. an application, website platform or SMS.Running in parallel to the trial, research will be undertaken to understand why fresh produce loss and waste occurs for small-scale farmers and what happens to this produce.
Throughout the project, opportunities to inform and build capacity will be identified and implemented. This will provide a good opportunity to impart the value of this research, and improve the evidence-base in South Africa. Research will inform capacity building of key actors within the food value chain to develop and implement innovative solutions to food waste.
More specifically, the research will support robust processes of social learning and change in the context of food waste and insecurity, growing internet connectivity particularly through cell phones.
Ultimately this project has the potential to open up new business and job opportunities while simultaneously improving livelihoods.