The conversations around sustainable food systems (SFS) are now more critical as the world grapples with the ever-present realities of food security, global hunger, and agricultural sustainability. With its central focus on these topics, Africa’s largest agriculture conference, the African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII), taking place in Cape Town from 20-22 November, represents a beacon of hope for Africa’s future food security. It also serves as a critical arena for the reinvention of Africa’s food systems, playing an integral role in economic, environmental, and societal domains.
As a platform, it brings together an impressive audience of over 900 key global stakeholders, including governments, financiers, investors, project developers, commercial farmers, and agro- and food-processing industries. Furthermore, the conference focuses on discussing trends that will influence food and agribusiness economics over the next decade – a testament to the importance of this event.
Now, why is this gathering so important, and why should it stir excitement among all echelons of society?
In a world where grand skyscrapers and burgeoning businesses often overshadow the humble soil that provides our daily bread, it becomes vitally important to emphasise the imperative of investing in agricultural and food production systems. These systems are the heartbeats of our world, supplying nourishment, driving economies, and shaping cultural identities. Nonetheless, it is crucial not to overlook the hidden environmental, social, and health costs associated with them.
Shoprite’s recently published Food Index Report paints a grim picture of South Africa’s hunger crisis. It is a sobering reminder that feeding a population is not merely about ploughing and harvesting; it is also about orchestrating a collaboration across multiple stakeholders, including farmers, manufacturers, retailers, government entities, and non-governmental organisations.
Investment in agriculture and food production sectors is not a prerogative; it is a dire necessity. Solving major issues like rampant hunger and poverty requires a gargantuan effort. Against this backdrop emerges an innovative and potentially transformative solution in the form of conscientious investment models, exemplified by the recently established Anchor Ndalo Fund. The fund’s dual goals of promoting financial growth and engendering a meaningful impact serve as an archetype of how institutional investments can revolutionise the food production sector and its ancillary industries. It empowers those industries that help put food on our tables while ensuring that these sectors grow in unison with economic progress, thus substantiating that profit and purpose can go hand in hand.
The Anchor Ndalo Fund seeks to create a ripple effect, starting from investment and leading towards improved production techniques, supply chain efficiency, and sustainable practices, helping to ameliorate the various hidden costs associated with food production. Encouraging such investments is a step towards improving self-reliance and sustainability, fostering a robust local economy, and alleviating poverty.
The crux of the fund’s pledge lies in its commitment to the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) impact framework – a revolutionary concept in sustainable business practices that prioritises not just profit but also the environmental and social implications of its activities. Such an approach is increasingly imperative as businesses face the existential reality of doing more with less – producing enough food to feed a growing planet while respecting the limits of available resources.
Investors will find high value in supporting a fund like the Anchor Ndalo Fund as it offers diversified exposure across the entire food-production value chain, spreading risk while capitalising on the various sectors’ inherent interdependencies. For investors who wish to make a positive socio-environmental impact while earning sufficient financial returns, supporting a fund like the Anchor Ndalo Fund is a prudent choice. The commitment and execution of principles and values demonstrated by the fund is a shining beacon of hope in an increasingly fragmented and complex landscape of global food production. Choosing to back this fund may be one of the most significant investments one can make, both for their financial future and for the sustainability of our planet.
As the global population continues to rise, there is no question that food demand will increase in tandem. Therefore, there is a need to invest in companies and funds which adopt sustainable agricultural practices. Financial returns might attract investors in the short term, but the sustainability and resilience of the food production system will maintain humankind’s long-term prosperity.