Entrepreneurship and Research Program for sustainable urban and peri-urban food system transformation
Empower local communities & develop alternative strategies to resolve food insecurity through collaboration & social businesses creations
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small NGO (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
GROUPE SOS: one of Europe’s foremost social and societal undertakings. Its actions have an impact on 1.7 million beneficiaries every year by acting on the international stage, working towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and contributes to economic development by supporting organisations with social and/or ecological objectives by incorporating them into their extensive worldwide network.
The Southern African Food Lab (SAFL): established in 2009, it facilitates the interaction, communication, and collaboration between different stakeholders to highlight the need to design and implement a coherent, systemic response to the food system through collaborative learning and experimental action.
SAFL operates under the aegis of the Food Security Initiative of the University of Stellenbosch - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences provides administrative and logistical support to carry out its activities. Thus,it also has a key role in building your vision and our solutions.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
The Metropolitan Municipality of Cape Town
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
After initiating social incubators in Casablanca, Tunis and Hong Kong, Groupe SOS launched 1 year ago ORIBI VILLAGE in Cape Town as the potential for social innovation is significant in South Africa, and particularly in its Mother City.
In 2019, Alterna acquired 3 new buildings in District 6/ Zonnebloem. This place, which requires renovation and development work, is intended to host ORIBI Village (from February 2020) as well as new activities around the Food System and social reintegration.
ORIBI's desire is to continue the development of a place that connects both local communities and the urban business population. This district, is located as close as possible to the public transports station, which offers several advantages. First, it offers people from the townships easy access by public transport. Secondly, being located in the heart of the city centre provides a strong connection to the urban business ecosystem and thus offers great potential for entrepreneurial development. This place satisfies our need for integration, understanding of the local context and co-creation in order to ensure sustainable development.
This real estate opportunity is therefore also an opportunity for the SOS GROUP to strengthen its position as a significant player in the local ecosystem of social innovation and entrepreneurship in South Africa.
Today, the Oribi Team is half South African and half French. This multicultural team allows a fruitful and priceless sharing of insights and skills which enables a holistic and balanced approach to the challenges that this region faces.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
We consider Cape Town as an adequate field to learn about the food system as it is a city that has historically been defined by food and is a pilot site for many international food security programs. Indeed the history of Cape Town is a history of food: from the annual migration of the Khoi to graze their herds, to the establishment of the city as a refreshment station for the ships of the Dutch Eats India Company, to the agriculture-led expansion that created the first free burghers and established a town beyond the Company-owned lands, to the diverse culinary traditions brought by the slaves and by economic immigrants from around the world.
Cape Town is the second most populous city in South Africa behind Johannesburg, and it is the provincial capital of the Western Cape. Located on the shore of Table Bay, it the legislative capital of South Africa. The Metropolitan Municipality of Cape Town hosted 433 688 multi- racial inhabitants on 2 446km² . The unemployment rate in the Metro stands at 21.0%.
Our impact is mainly focused on Cape Town’s surrounding townships. In South Africa, township refers to poor and under-equipped neighbourhoods mainly occupied by black or coloured populations. They were built in the periphery of cities from the end of the 19th century until the end of Apartheid. Khayelitsha is the biggest one. It hosted 391 749 inhabitants on 38,71 km2. At 31.8 per cent, the Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain Planning District recorded the highest unemployment rate in the Cape Metro area during the reference period.
The Western Cape is relatively unique in terms of agricultural production in that it is a typical Mediterranean climate area. This means that winter rainfall and hot dry summers is characteristic for the province but it is ranked as the 29th driest country. The province’s major commodities are horticulture – fruit, wine and vegetables. It also produces livestock, meat and dairy; and field crops like wheat, barley and canola. The relative contribution of agriculture to the GDP for the province is relatively high at 5.6%. However, the Western Cape hosts 16.4% of food-insecure households.
Given the social challenges that plague the country, it is no surprise that 20% of the South African entrepreneurs are established to tackle these challenges.
Many reports question the sustainability of the current funding system, which is largely dependent on subsidies. There is also a fragmented relationship with a government that subsidizes rather than funds non-profit organizations to provide essential services. In this context, the social entrepreneurship addresses some of the constraints faced by civil society organizations in South Africa. Because social enterprises in South Africa are often registered as both for-profit and non-profit enterprises, they can access both subsidies and trade finance which opens a range of possibilities which can eliminate the constraints faced by non-profit organizations.
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The current South African food system
South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal nations characterised by unacceptably high levels of poverty, unemployment and a growing proportion of the population is affected by food insecurity and malnutrition (it went from 45.4% - 25.1 million people in 2014 to 51.1% - 29 million people in 2018). Over-nutrition, composed by high energy and low nutrient foods, also impacts South-African populations driving to obesity and diseases such as diabetes, children stunting, heart disease, and cancers.
Understanding the food insecurity in South Africa
First, food insecurity is neither a problem of production - as the solutions deployed to increase South African agricultural productivity appear to be inefficient in solving the problem of food insecurity - nor a predominantly rural issues - as we can see in Cape Town and its surrounding townships.
Secondly, food security is inextricably linked to the local and global market (supply and demand) as well as international competition. The south-african market is volatile, unstable and depends on few products (oil or biofuels for example). The global system is long to change and even more complicated to anticipate as there are a lot of fluctuations in the cost of energy, transportation and fertilisers. Globalisation and general trade dynamics has consequences in the development of local food systems, pricing and types of foods eaten by the population in South Africans.
Thirdly, in terms of policy and law, the government’s objectives for agriculture, the water pricing and saving policies and the reliance on food imports all need to be considered to fully understand the complex south-african food system. Since the transition to democratic governance in 1994, the concept of food security has been heavily embedded within the politics of South Africa as they focus on agriculture and productivity, neglecting the root causes of hunger, poverty and inequality.
In addition, commercial agricultural practices amplify the negative environmental impacts associated with food production. These practices are typically intensively output-oriented, and require heavy machinery, large-scale irrigation, and use of chemicals. Farmers are focused on covering recurring debt and have less time to address social and environmental concerns. Farming and processing are also energy consuming which dramatically increases the carbon footprint of the system.
Projecting food system in South Africa by 2050
As inequalities and populations increase as well as the climate change, there is an urgent need to start including all the aspects of food insecurity in order to tackle it effectively. The main challenges South Africa is facing now are the same types of challenges and issues which will need to be faced is in 2050 but the situation is going to be worse and even critical in terms of demography and society.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
physical access, affordability, promotion, advertising and information as well as food quality and safety issues. Access to food can be determined by household’s income and thus food insecurity can be the result of poverty. Yet, household poverty is not the only dimension of food access and food insecurity. That is why Oribi’s vision is to placing greater emphasis on accessibility, both for small and local producers and consumers.
To do that, we think that the solution is to connect the loose value chain of informal agri-markets to more formal systems, or creating entire new short-value chain markets systems through the integration of quality monitoring, supply, retail & production solutions. How ?
By a strong collaboration between all actors to end the dualism between large-scale firms and small producers. And last but not least, new agro-ecological approaches must be emerging, driven by independent actors. We strongly believe in the creation of a network of individuals and companies actively engaging in education to improve synergies through collaborations. By multiplying insights and working together, we would be able to build meaningful and holistic solutions for a more inclusive and promising education for the future. The objective is to empower each person through the prism of others by integrating commitment in the minds of all and a sense of reciprocity. By connecting diverse individuals with a myriad of skills and the same desire for change, we focus on empowering community leaders. In our opinion, social entrepreneurs are the most capable of reaching these initiatives.
Social businesses could be a lever of social transformation in the food system. It appears that just as transnational corporations have a negative impact on the global food system, independent businesses have a role to play in countering this effect. Indeed, Muhammad Yunus – who invented the concept – does not exclude the free markets and the business as a solution to overcome the failures of capitalism, on the contrary, he sees them as a powerful and useful tool and as a source of inspiration and freedom for all, as long as the appropriate regulations are in place and if it does not respond exclusively to the financial objectives of its wealthiest stakeholders.
Social entrepreneurs can help to build a more productive, efficient, inclusive, sustainable, transparent, and resilient food system by addressing three challenges: operational excellence, supply chain orchestration, and transparency.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
By being independent and living as close as possible to the food insecurity issues, a collaboration between South African social entrepreneurs and all the actors of the country could be able to focus on key subjects which can highly improve the actual food system.
First, with regard to operational excellence, social entrepreneurs are working on improving productivity, efficiency and quality to meet the growing demand for food and the global challenge of food waste. Then they work on supply chain orchestration, which includes the vulnerability of the agro-industry value chain, unnecessary intermediaries and difficult market access for some buyers and small sellers. Finally, transparency implies the control of product safety and social and environmental responsibility. They have a real impact on the lives of some people and can be considered as experimental laboratories to find solutions. In addition, the various projects contribute to rethinking food security, as they go beyond the notion of production and rural issues.
The social entrepreneur is a mission-driven individual who uses a set of entrepreneurial behaviours to solve social problems while generating revenue to ensure future sustainability. This may seem counter-intuitive, but profit encourages a focus on impact because without quality service delivery, no revenue. This has links to accountability and transparency, creating a circle that builds credibility and profit. It offers the opportunity to move our civil society towards a new way of doing things. It emphasizes long-term sustainability, service quality, efficiency and accountability. It combines the lessons learned from business with the diversity and complexity of social values, and this mix offers excellent opportunities for change.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
This network of social entrepreneurs and actors in the food system could completely redefine today's food system. By working on operational, supply chain and transparency improvements, we would be able offer more accessibility to both the consumers and the small-scale farmer. We are talking about accessibility in a broad sense, which means that we integrate economic, geographical and informative factors.
With this perspective, some agro- ecology solutions could born. This type of agriculture will bring:
- Temporal diversification (e.g. crop rotation) and spatial diversification (e.g. intercropping; mixed farming); diversification employed at various levels, including plot, farm and landscape.
- Use of wide range of species and less uniform, locally-adapted varieties/breeds, based on multiple uses (including traditional uses), cultural preferences, taste, productivity and other criteria.
- Natural synergies emphasised and production types integrated (e.g. mixed crop-livestock-tree farming systems and landscapes).
- More labour-intensive systems.
- Low external inputs; recycling of waste within full nutrient cycling and circular economy approaches.
- Production of a wide range of less homogeneous products often destined for short value chains; multiple sources of production, income and livelihood.
In this context, marketplaces would be ultra-localized and policies could be thought of quickly and responsibly in terms of environmental and human needs.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?