The Food for Us team is working alongside major retailers to explore the feasibility of developing a second phase of the Food for Us project. The second phase of the Food for Us project aims to strengthen and further develop the local supply chains while reducing food waste, building economic opportunities for local businesses and strengthening the local green economy.
Researchers have been meeting with local retailers in the Raymond Mhlaba community to develop an understanding of the market demand in the local supply chain. Currently, only a small amount of fresh produce sold in major retailers is sourced from local farmers. Store owners and fresh produce managers explained that even though they would like to source from local farmers challenges with a consistent supply of good quality fresh produce appeared to be the most pressing issue.
To understanding these supply challenges more fully the researchers also explored what was occurring from a farmer perspective. A diverse range of farmers has been visited over the last month, giving the researchers an understanding of the various farming practices used, types of produce grown and scale of farming operations in the area.
The market demand information and farmer information is being used to explore the potential of developing a fresh produce hub where both demand and supply needs can be addressed through exploring innovative solutions.
Through the research that was conducted in the first phase of this project, it was acknowledged that in order for the Food for Us application to be successful, it needs to be introduced into a network. The second phase of the Food for Us project aims to develop these networks through organizing fresh produce hubs, therefore developing opportunities for trading that are further facilitated by the application. The Food for Us application is able to assist and allow for easier connection and communication but needs to be implemented within a larger supply chain intervention.
The Food for Us team remains committed to finding funding and developing partnerships to further the work on mobile technological innovation in local supply chain transformation.