Concerns about SA's water quality

2010-10-18 09:02
Johannesburg - Food retailer Woolworths says it is extremely concerned about the quality of the country’s water and the influence this has on food security.

Noël van Zyl, buying manager at Interfruit, which supplies Woolworths with fresh produce, said on Friday it has become clear over the past 18 months that the country’s water quality is declining drastically.

“We recently discovered traces of Escherichia coli on fresh produce,” he said.

Van Zyl, who spoke to members of niche research area The Cultural Dynamics of Water at the North-West University’s Vaal Triangle Campus, said Woolworths is particularly concerned about the water in the Hartbeespoort Dam (the Crocodile River) and the Vaal River, which is used for irrigation by some of the chain’s suppliers.

International standards

He pointed out that Woolworths’ products must comply with international standards set by GlobalGap (Global Partnership for Good Agricultural Practice). Among other things, this means water used for irrigation must be of pristine quality.

According to Van Zyl, Woolworths didn’t have these problems five years ago. “The biggest problems we had at that stage were frost and chemicals… but water issues? No, never. How is it possible that this has happened?” he wanted to know.

When Woolworths buys fresh produce, they test the produce for bacteria - including E.coli - and certain chemicals, he said. If a test is positive, their contract with the supplier is terminated immediately.

The termination of contracts has far-reaching consequences.

Fresh produce which is turned away usually ends up on the “open market”, where it is sold to the informal sector which, in turn, sells the produce from road-side stalls.

This tainted food is bought by the poor, leading to diseases being spread among those who are most vulnerable, Van Zyl said.

Shocked


Thomas du Toit, representative of the non-governmental organisation Save the Vaal (Save), said government should be “shocked” to its senses, since they are the custodians of the country’s water resources and they are allowing the water quality to deteriorate at this rate.

Van Zyl said Woolworths doesn’t want empty shelves, but if the country’s water quality continues to deteriorate, this will be everyone’s fate.

Woolworths prefers not to import food, since they want to keep their carbon footprint as small as possible.

“We try to buy most of our products locally, but the opportunities - due to the pollution of water resources - are more and more limited and the number of suppliers is dropping.

“The future is very uncertain because we’ve never had to deal with a problem like this. My biggest concern is that if this is how things are going now, what will the situation look like in five years’ time?”

He also said it is “incredible” how weather patterns have changed over the past five to ten years. A decade ago it was possible to plant courgettes in Musina in the winter, but these days the frost is too severe.

“You would never see frost in Musina in June.”

Woolworths does import asparagus from Peru and small sweetcorn and beans from Kenya.


 
Read more on:    woolworths  |  pollution  |  agriculture  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Zuma must share Nkandla

2014-11-23 22:29
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime use...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.