Africa’s population is experiencing a rapid increase in size and by 2050 will cross 2.5 billion people. Africa is also experiencing major economic development. The combination of these factors will result in a massive increase in the demand for protein as economically-mobile families transition from starch-heavy to protein-rich diets.
Animal protein however is not the solution. Animal protein production already uses 80% of all water consumed globally. Livestock occupy 45% of available land and livestock feed uses another 33%. Meat farming produces 51% of global greenhouse gases and is responsible for 91% of forest destruction, desertification and species extinction. If we plan to use meat to meet the predicted 2050 demand for protein we will have to increase these figures by 180% – can you see how impossible this is?
We believe plant protein, and specifically pea protein, is the answer. Other plant proteins have become very popular, mostly because of subsidised production costs. Examples include e.g. soy and maize proteins. But these proteins are associated with harmful impacts on the health of consumers and have been shown to be environmentally destructive.
Pea protein is an environmentally enriching crop to cultivate, and is one of the few plant proteins to have a positive impact on the health of regular consumers. It is the only sustainable protein solution, both from a consumer health and environmental health perspective.
We have already introduced a range of pea protein-based products to the Southern African market, with impressive organic growth over the past 2 years. This shows that the market is already aware of and eager to consume pea protein-derived products. However, this growth has been hampered by the fact that our pea protein, sourced in the EU, is sensitive to fluctuations in the exchange rate and the oil price.
We want to localise the production of pea protein, and eventually the farming, in order to make our supply chain more secure and the product more affordable. Doing so will allow us to widen our footprint in the human nutrition market and access new agriculture and aquaculture nutrition markets. These new markets have expressed great interest in pea protein as a feed additive but have held off from using it because of the costs. A locally produced product will remove this barrier.
We are seeking funding to build a Cape Town-based processing plant, to supply customers in Africa and globally.