Windhoek, Oct. 17 — Sara Ekondo, an employee of Awana Foods in Oshakati, was named the overall winner of the “2022 Capricorn Foundation Food Waste Challenge” and the beneficiary of a N$100,000 cash reward by the Capricorn Foundation today.
The Capricorn Foundation Food Waste Challenge was introduced in July 2022 and asked the general public to come up with creative and long-lasting solutions to reduce food waste in Namibia and so advance food security.
The gathering, distribution, and storage of food and food products categories received a total of 101 entries by the contest’s deadline of 12 August 2022, making it a resounding success. Individual entries made up 70% of the 101 submissions, and team and business entries made up the remaining 30%. South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, India, Portugal, and other countries sent in submissions. Submissions from Namibia came from Noordoewer to Katima Mulilo. The entries underwent a thorough internal assessment procedure in which they were evaluated against predetermined criteria. The top 10 submissions and the winning solution were then chosen by an external judging panel of business representatives.
The winning solution
The N$100,000 prize went to Sara Ekondo of Awana Foods in Oshakati for the concept of “extending the shelf-life of products and minimizing waste through value addition and preservation.” Awana Foods is a local company based in Oshakati. Its approach is to purchase surplus and inferior produce from farmers and transform it into various products like chutney and concentrate syrup to extend shelf life while maintaining nutritional content.
Solutions to reduce food waste in Namibia
The Food Waste Challenge has demonstrated what the Capricorn Foundation means when it says it is devoted to being a Connector of Beneficial Change by giving people a forum to express their creative ideas that can result in long-lasting positive change.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, 2021) states that consumer food waste continues to be a problem on a global scale. 11% of the food produced globally is reportedly wasted in families, 5% is lost in the food service industry, and 2% is lost in retail. Organic food products/leftovers and organic garden trash made up the largest proportion of waste categories reported with 16% and 13%, respectively, according to an audit carried out by the City of Windhoek between November 16 and November 20, 2020. (CoW, 2020).
“It is based on this background that the Capricorn Foundation launched this innovative initiative to seek new possibilities in addressing the basic need of food security for the most vulnerable people in Namibia and the same vein to positively impact society to improve the quality of life, in partnership with Skild who provided the Foundation with the Open Innovation platform and the Namibia Media Holdings as the media partner”, said Rikus Grobler, Manager: Innovation at Capricorn Group and Food Waste Challenge Project Coordinator.
“Apart from the winning solution and the many other innovative ideas that were submitted, the Capricorn Foundation Food Waste Challenge provided a platform to create awareness on the issue of food waste. We specifically chose today as the date to announce the winner, to align the Challenge with World Food Day, which was observed on Sunday, 16 October 2022, under the theme ‘leave no one behind. We congratulate Sara and hope that her prize money will aid her in extending her business of reducing waste through value addition and preservation,’ said Marlize Horn, Capricorn Foundation Executive Officer.
Even though the Terms and Conditions of the Challenge excluded employees of Capricorn Group and its subsidiaries to win the N$100,000.00 prize money, Pieter Badenhorst, an employee of Capricorn Group, also entered his innovative idea and came in 10th overall. The Capricorn Foundation recognised Badenhorst as a true Connector of Positive Change and rewarded his efforts with a cash prize of N$10,000.00.
“We commend the 101 submissions on their ideas and hope that their ideas can still be executed. To the nation at large, we urge everyone to actively seek ways to reduce food waste in Namibia and to play their part in improving food security”, Horn concluded.
The Top 10 Solutions are:
- Awana Foods (Sara Ekondo)
- Waste Not Want Not (Siobhan Dammert, Alna Dall, Leigh Adams, Shareen Thude)
- EBIKES4AFRICA (Marita Walther, Bernhard Walther)
- ChariTree (Richard Hoff, Tiree Ngaujake, Hileni Shipanga, Phrezia Sinalumbu)
- NamLands (Louis Wessels, Philip Wessels, Dirk Basson, Ernesto Ekandjo)
- Namibian Farmers Online (Mia Koster, Daniël Swart, Magda Cooper)
- Fudlink Agri-Tech CC (Twamanguruka Nghidinwa, Francois-Jacques Malan, Lucas Nekare, Daniel Mulongeni)
- Impact Tank
- The Freeze Project (Sybrand de Waal)
- Food for Thought (Pieter Badenhorst, Sonnett Badenhorst)