Editor's Note

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It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. The worst is that images of forests burning around the globe are waking the world up not only to the clear and present danger posed by climate change but also the undeniable role played by agribusiness in undermining the natural environment on which all planetary life depends.

Entire industries will have to rethink their approach to business or undergo the risk of tremendous reputational damage. The best is that all the resources necessary to embrace a paradigm that feeds the world’s billions sustainably are available. As PMA’s regional vice-president Anouk Sijmonsma pointed out at PMA’s 9th Fresh Connections: Southern Africa Conference and Trade Show, held 30-31 July in CapeTown, the international and Southern African produce industry is being shaped by an array of positive trends including “technology innovations in stores and restaurants; science and technology disruption; talent management opportunities; and consumer trends. Her examples covered the opening of unmanned supermarkets and smart stores; automated warehouses; ‘plastic’ and package free fresh produce; food robots in restaurants; food safety breakthroughs; investments in Agri tech; the creation of alternative proteins; and opportunities for the industry to attract, develop and retain talent”.

Of course, as Tatjana von Bormann, the programmes and innovation lead at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa, emphasised, producing enough food to feed 73 million people in South Africa by 2050 will entail a complete transformation of the system that will nurture human health and the environment. Practical actions proposed by the WWF to drive the necessary transformative change include “inclusive regenerative farming; optimal water use; responsible sourcing; reducing food waste; and dietary shift”.

We look forward to the solutions that South Africa’s ever innovative producers and retailers come up with at Nampo Cape.

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