Leaving no one behind, traffic intersections outreach Food Heroes – Prof David Katerere & Bethany House

Nutrigo Donates Food Parcels
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the impact of the food security crises especially among the most vulnerable demographic groups. Earlier this year, South Africans were forced to go into lockdown in order to manage the spread of the Corona virus – while this decision was necessary, millions also lost their source of income.
 
Tshwane University of Technology and AUDA-NEPAD SANBio /BioFISA II Programme project recipient, Professor David Katerere working together with John Baker of Bethany House in Pretoria, South Africa heeded the call to assist people in need by donating food parcels.
 
The team donates food parcels at traffic intersections in Pretoria East targeting jobseekers, informal settlement dwellers and the homeless.
 
According to Katerere and Baker, the food parcels include hot soup and rolls in the winter season and light sandwiches and fruits in the summer season. After seeing how enthusiastically the meals were received, Katerere also started to include the nutritional sorghum drink Niselo which is manufactured by his company, Nutrigo.

food donations
 
Nutrigo is an AUDA-NEPAD SANBio/BioFISA II Programme funded project that was established as a Tshwane University of Technology spin-off which formulates food and beverage products that are rooted in tradition and informed by science for good nutrition and health for all.
 
“We could not get our product to market and we thought we could not let it go to waste, so we started donating to homeless shelters in April. Now, as lockdown has eased, we deliberately make additional volumes to donate to the traffic circle ministry because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected communities badly.”
 
“Many of the people we are feeding cannot afford to have a meal, and this affects jobseekers who need energy to be productive - Niselo sorghum drink assist with that.
The drink is high in protein, vitamin / minerals (including iron) and contains antioxidant phenolics and prebiotics. And also, a number of diseases and medical complications including diarrhoea, constipation, as well as candida infections may be alleviated by ingestion of symbiotic beverages – taken in adequate amounts on a regular basis. The low glycemic index of sorghum also assist with glucose control in diabetic patients.”
 
Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, Katerere said the feeding programme was inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2  (SDG): Zero Hunger. The goal aims to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children, have sufficient and nutritious food all year. This involves promoting sustainable agricultural practices (including farming of indigenous climate smart crops like sorghum), supporting small-scale farmers and enhancing equal access to land, technology and markets. It also requires international cooperation to ensure investment in infrastructure and technology to improve agricultural productivity.

Food donation
 
“The feeding programme is our contribution to the United Nations SDGs Zero Hunger. We have been contributing to various feeding projects in the Tshwane area. One was during lockdown when inner city homeless people were accommodated at Pilditch Stadium and the other was a project distributing food parcels in various townships.”
 
To date over 600 units of Niselo sorghum drink have been donated and Katerere calls on more support to continue the feeding programme.
 
In South Africa, Nutrigo has:
• positively impacted the nutrition and health of consumers,
• created jobs ,
• expanded the biotechnology-skills base
• incentivised small and medium sized sorghum farmers
• And played an important role in improving food and nutrition security in the region.

 
Niselo sorghum drink is available at Fruit Stop, Container Town in Pretoria CBD and Fitness Junction gyms in Gauteng, South Africa.
 
By Kelebohile Sedieane