BoP Solutions Set To Advance Food Security In South Africa**

The New Economy Accelerator, the enterprise acceleration programme for base of the pyramid (BoP) solutions, on Thursday introduced its 2015/16 cohort at a cocktail reception in Cape Town. Aimed at enterprises with new economy and inclusive solutions that target or operate at the base of the pyramid, the evening’s theme focused on food security in South Africa.The evening kick-started with brief introductions by NEA convenor, Dr. Mao Amis, he reminded the audience in attendance that ending hunger is Goal 2 of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), “…which collectively aim to ensure the long-term well-being of the planet and its people. Solemn promises however, are not enough. These goals must be converted into tangible outcomes on the ground”. Each of the 10 enterprises who form part of the 2015/16 cohort, got an opportunity to introduce themselves and the solution that they are currently implementing. Shortly thereafter, the entrepreneurs were be joined by Leonie Joubert, an award winning science writer and author of The Hungry Season, in dissecting the future of food and what it will take to feed the nation.The 2015/16 NEA cohort boasts companies whose ambitious goals range from mass employment and skills for unemployed youth to recycled construction waste being converted into affordable housing. The future food and food value chain features strongly with a cross section solutions looking at unique urban farming techniques, to innovative mobile food distribution for informal traders, converting illegal dump sites into community gardens, natural fertilizers and organic recycling of food waste. Although the accelerator programme itself is new, the bulk of the entrepreneurs have been operating for longer than 2 years.

Leonie Joubert shared her experiences and insights in researching South Africa’s food sector: “If we want to make sure that our fellow South Africans are well fed and properly nourished, we need to understand that food security isn’t just about making sure our farmers are producing enough calories for all of us. We need to make sure that those calories are wholesome and nutritious. At the moment, the industrial food system tends to take these good calories, given to us by our farmers, and processes much of this food so heavily that it brings energy dense foods to us, but ones that don’t have enough nutrients.

The result is that we get too much energy and not enough goodness from our food. It’s making us heavy and sick, and it means we aren’t food secure”. Joubert went further in suggesting that we subside fresh and whole foods, and tax processed and sugary foods.

In an audience that included government officials and impact investors, the future of food proved to be topical and the evening tremendously success, even trending on social media.

**   This article was originally published www.spice4life.co.za

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