SPAR stakeholder initiatives

During the ordinary course of business The SPAR Group engages with a range of stakeholders, essential to the group’s ability to create value. We discuss our interaction with these stakeholders in detail on the section on “Managing sustainable development”.

The SPAR Group’s primary stakeholders are:

SPAR retailers
Consumer communities
Providers of capital

In addition to the above, the following stakeholder groups are monitored and engaged with on a regular basis:

Board and board committees
Government and regulators
SPAR International
Advertising agencies

During the past year, the SPAR Group’s stakeholder focus was driven by a strategy for increased local sourcing from emerging smallholder farmers. This is in support of South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP), which focuses inter alia on an integrated and inclusive rural economy and firmly positions the importance of developing a thriving smallholder farming sector for job creation and food security. The NDP states that agriculture, as the primary economic activity in rural areas, has the potential to create 1 million new jobs by 2030. The majority of these new jobs will be in the smallholder sector.

The aim of SPAR’s strategy is to enable small farmers to develop beyond subsistence farming. By linking rural supply to local consumer demand and retail requirements, lower LSM consumer groups can gain access to improved availability of diverse fresh, nutritious produce. By complementing this with in-store and school-based campaigns to improve awareness of the importance of nutrition, SPAR aims to contribute to improved uptake of fresh food and increased dietary diversity among young children and women of reproductive age.

What began with an initial focus on the single SPAR retail store as the hub for local sourcing progressed into the concept of a fresh assembly point as the hub for supplying stores within a 200 km radius of the hub and the emerging farmer growing areas. With the assistance of Dutch government funding, SPAR intends to create three pilot Rural Retail Centres (RRCs) over the next few years.

To be sustainable, this initiative requires buy-in from a wide range of stakeholders, including farmers, communities, food manufacturers/wholesalers, financial institutions and funders. Key to the success of the venture is the creation of dedicated markets for fresh produce consisting of local retail stores, potential informal markets and government-led schemes within the area.

An initial detailed location assessment has been completed for the Mopani District in Limpopo Province. This work has identified suitable local emerging smallholder farmers that could supply the independent retailers that trade within a reasonable geographical radius of the potential site. Discussions were also held with independent retailers already conducting similar local sourcing projects on a small scale to understand and address possible problem areas.

The area is particularly attractive as a number of farmer support organisations are already well represented and there are 27 SPAR stores within a 200 km radius.

SPAR intends to proceed with the establishment of the Mopani RRC by starting to select farmers and planting products by 2015. Concurrently, the SPAR team will be completing detailed location assessment exercises for the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal RRCs.