With 6.8 million South Africans daily experiencing hunger, according to Statistics SA, a young Gauteng entrepreneur has asked the country to not throw away food.
Muhammed Gutta, who owns restaurants in Braamfontein, Pretoria, and Mokopane, not only feeds the hungry, but regularly donates to poverty alleviation initiatives in South Africa – and what irks him is “widespread food wastage from well-to-do households and businesses”.
Some large food stores also throw away leftovers and edible foodstuffs, instead of donating it to the needy, Gutta said.
“If everyone in South Africa and in the world was to develop a commitment to give to people in need, we would have a better and brighter future.
“I am committed to make a difference in society.
“With tight food costs, we make sure that, at our stores, nothing is wasted.
“We give free meals to car guards and people in need by offering four burgers per individual – and it is usually gone in 30 minutes.
“It is important to give back to society,” said Gutta.
“We give any unused food to staff.
“What results in food wastage in large food stores is lack of accountability because they are not owner-operated.”
According to the non-profit Food Aid Foundation, which collects donations of food, wastage occurs in agricultural production, processing, distribution and household consumption.
Gutta, who became an entrepreneur at the age of 11, said the youth “have to follow their passion to realise their dream”.
“I attended Crawford College in Sandton but after matric I continued with business.
“I was brought up in a family business environment with very supportive parents,” said Gutta.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation:
- Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – about 1.3 billion tons – gets lost or wasted.
- Food losses and waste amounts to roughly $680 billion (R10 trillion) in industrialised countries and $310 billion in developing countries.
- Every year, consumers in rich countries waste as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons).