Significant opportunity exists for food production and circular economy in OR Tambo District Municipality

Key lessons and opportunities coming out of the food loss & waste study in OR Tambo District Municipality is that there is significant opportunity to bolster the entire food value chain from food production to all infrastructure associated with it. For example, this will result in the Kei Fresh Produce Market and Umzikantu Abattoir reaching full capacity with agricultural produce and red meat. This would make a significant contribution to economic development of OR Tambo District Municipality.

The Integrated Waste Management Plans (IWMP) highlight problems with the landfills and buy-back centres in the different local municipalities in OR Tambo. They are not working as effectively as they should and some are not fully operational, especially their weighbridges. Therefore, the ability of local municipalities to quantify the extent of food loss and waste coming from the difference municipalities cannot be effectively quantified. Further research needs to be done to validate the study results and quantifying of food production, loss & waste of the different commodities at the different stages of the food value chain.

There is real opportunity for the circular economy in OR Tambo and the best way to accomplish this is through the development of Public Private Partnerships (PPP). This should be done with organisations like Tata Waste, which is involved in the commercial side of waste management, and it could be further involved in separating of the food from wet waste. Another organisation is Verminigrand, which is an NGO that takes food waste and converts it into compost. Vermigrand is also looking at the conversion of food waste into biofuels. Public Private Partnerships is the best way for food waste to be dealt with in OR Tambo.

For this to be accompanied significant seed funding needs to be made available, especially for special initiatives like the processing of food waste generated from the feeding schemes of the 367 primary schools that exist in OR Tambo District Municipality. These sorts of initiatives need to be funded over a minimum of 10 years, which will bring about an effective and sustainable circular economy in the OR Tambo District Municipality.

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