SPAR South Africa has recently not only been awarded the Rural and Township Development Award at the 2020 ABSA Business Day Supplier Development Awards in South Africa, but also claimed the prize of Overall Winner for its SPAR Rural Hub Programme.
The SPAR Rural Hub Programme is a collaboration between small-scale farmers, communities and retailers to improve food security, affordability and nutrition for rural communities in South Africa. Cost efficient and environmentally responsible, the hub contributes towards job creation, income generation, infrastructure development, skills transfer and empowerment, while creating a food system that provides affordable, nutritious, fresh produce.
Their first SPAR Rural Hub was established in 2016 with five small-scale farmers producing on 22 hectares of farmland. The rural hub has since expanded to 12 farmers and 122 ha of vegetable production. All participating small-scale farmers receive training covering all aspects of farm management and food safety, provided by an in-house team of qualified agronomists.
When assessing entries for the Rural and Township Development Award, the judges felt that SPAR Rural Hub model was intentionally focused on rural community development and was different to other programmes in that it addresses a systemic issue such as food security. They were further impressed by the transformational aspect of the programme targeted at an impoverished sector of society. The shortening of the supply chain by providing a localised distribution platform was further viewed positively
SPAR South Africa was also awarded the Overall Winner Award for its Rural Hub Programme, recognised for sticking true to its purpose: ‘’to inspire people to do and be more’’. The judges were particularly impressed by SPAR South Africa’s recognition of the transformative potential of ‘Purpose’ and their efforts to position this focus throughout the company to achieve greater integration.
The investment made to the Rural Hub Programme, the willingness to develop suppliers also working with competitors and ensuring small-scale suppliers become GlobalGAP accredited was commended. The evidence presented in support of long-term supplier development success with the outcomes, outputs and results of the Rural Hub programme brought to the fore SPAR South Africa’s commitment to collaborative action through partnership.
A partnership with scientific institutions, nutrition experts, and other local and international organisations was instrumental in SPAR South Africa’s introduction of the SPAR Rural Hub Programme – which included support from the Global Alliance for the Improvement of Nutrition.