ORIBI Village pilot programme helps social entrepreneurs work towards a more sustainable food system

Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network participated in the pilot ORIBI Village Food System Incubation Programme designed to support social entrepreneurs and innovators who are working towards a sustainable and equitable food system.

ORIBI Village describes itself as an innovative movement that promotes and supports social entrepreneurs based in Cape Town and its surrounding townships who are driven by social and environmental responsibility.

Participants in the pilot ORIBI Village Food System Incubation Programme. Mhani Gingi Founding Director, Lillian Masebenza, is fourth from the right in the middle row. Picture credit: ORIBI Village

“Over the year 2019, Oribi has been privileged enough to see the ongoing success of their first cohort of seven entrepreneurs focusing on the food system. This led to a fruitful partnership with the Southern Africa FOOD LAB and the University of Stellenbosch, with which we have teamed up to create a 100% tailor-made incubation food system programme – supporting and connecting entrepreneurs, organisations and innovators working towards a more sustainable and equitable food system,” said Louis Prevost, Partnerships & Strategy Manager of the Oribi Village Team.

According to the website, difficulties facing the South African food system arise from questions of availability, access, affordability, and the quality of food, among issues.

“ORIBI is essentially working on connecting the loose value chain of informal agri-markets to more formal systems, or creating entire new short-value chain market systems through the integration of quality monitoring, supply, retail and production solutions,” Prevost said.  This addressed three main challenges:

  1.    “Operational excellence, the main objectives here being the improvement of productivity, efficiency and quality to meet the rising demand for food and to tackle the global challenge of food security and food waste.
  2.     Supply chain orchestration, which includes the vulnerability of the agribusiness’ value chain, the useless intermediaries and the difficult access to markets for some buyers and small sellers.
  3.      Transparency, implying the monitoring for product safety, and social and environmental responsibility,” he said.

Mhani Gingi’s Founding Director, Lillian Masebenza, was a winner of the First Edition of the ORIBI Dinner for Change on 26 June 2019 – a pitching competition for entrepreneurs organised by ORIBI.  The prize was a video on Mhani Gingi’s work which was shot by Ekse Lens from Khayelitsha.  The competition was against Umthunzi Farming Community and Ubuhle BeNdalo food gardens, both fellow ORIBI incubees.  She also had an opportunity to share her work on Talk Radio station.

The incubation programme, delivered over the past nine months, held a Closing Event on 12 November 2019 at Food Jams in Salt River, Cape Town, to celebrate the achievements and innovative solutions that changemakers on the programme have worked on – and to award certificates of achievement. The evening included a cooking session while the changemakers themselves supplied the ethically and locally sourced food that was enjoyed.

Peter Sampson, pictured in the foreground wearing a cap, is a community gardener and craft-maker from Uitsig Community, Ravensmead, and a beneficiary of Mhani Gingi’s environmental programme. He attended the Closing Event of the ORIBI Village Food System Incubation Programme. Picture credit: ORIBI Village.