PepsiCo invests to foster a sustainable food system in South Africa

Food and beverage company PepsiCo has launched the Kgodiso Development Fund, a five-year, R600-million investment to help transform the food system in South Africa.

It will look to create ‘shared value’ solutions that ultimately help build a sustainable food system by creating local employment opportunities and increasing local procurement and supplier diversity.

“PepsiCo aims to play a bigger role in supporting activities that contribute to the long-term sustainability and resilience of South Africa’s food system,” says Tertius Carstens, chief executive of PepsiCo sub-Saharan Africa.

“The Kgodiso Development Fund will act as a catalyst to create local jobs, increase local procurement, build small businesses, support education and holistically contribute to black economic empowerment in South Africa.”

PepsiCo executive director Diale Tilo (left) says the Kgodiso Development Fund will prioritise activities that support the growth and scaling of black-owned emerging farming enterprises and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), promote regenerative agriculture practices and encourage the adoption of innovation to revitalise local production within SA’s agriculture sector.

As a starting point, R300-million has been allocated to agricultural development to assist black-owned emerging farming enterprises to upscale their businesses. “This will help transform the country’s agricultural landscape by developing a new generation of sustainable farming enterprises,” Tilo says.

Another R200-million has been earmarked for education initiatives providing the appropriate training and upskilling, and enhancing the skills pipeline in the country. Carstens says this will assist in unlocking the immense potential of SA’s human capital by addressing key skills and knowledge gaps.

The final R100-million will be allocated to SMMEs to provide incubation and technological support to those small businesses that can provide their goods or services to PepsiCo or its partners.

Tilo says this investment seeks to encourage unique innovation, increase competitiveness and drive economic inclusion by building a pipeline of suppliers and entrepreneur networks, and by providing them with a route to market, business development support, funding and mentoring.

The Kgodiso Development Fund is one of PepsiCo’s public interest commitments, made to the government when the company bought Pioneer Foods for R26-billion in 2020.

Source: PepsiCo