The Big Idea


The price to use our software and network is really simple. In black and white terms it's 100% FREE. Yes, OFN South Africa is currently making our system freely available to ALL users.

In other countries, OFN usually charges a hub, food club etc. between a 2-5% commission on all sales through the system. This is similar to what a credit card processing fee would be and represents fair value for the incredible benefits that the software provides shops, hubs etc.

Clearly we cannot operate and provide our software and support services for free forever. However, we are working on a much bigger idea....

  • Create a Sustainable Food Fund for both investors and food buyers to put money in upfront;
  • Investors invest once off to get a leveraged return and food buyers deposit monthly to buy their food via the OFN;
  • For every Rand deposited into the fund, investors and buyers will receive +ve credits (call it a Food or Commons Coin);
  • Working with field agents (agri extension officers) the fund will provide farmers with interest-free funding to grow food;
  • Farmers will go into -ve credits for every Rand they receive upfront in funding;
  • In time the farmer will harvest and sell their produce on the OFN and make a profit, thus paying back the fund and going into a +ve net balance; (clearly proper capital adequacy and lending criteria need to be followed, and any defaults are liable to be paid back in cash)
  • Everyone who has a +ve Coin balance with the fund can withdraw it at any time into cash, where the fund will take a small withdrawal fee;
  • This fee goes to paying the OFN and the fund's fixed overhead costs e.g. the agri extension officers;
  • All transactions on the OFN would take place by swapping +ve for -ve credits (not Rands) and thus food clubs and hubs don't have to worry about cash transfers and working capital issues etc;
  • As farmers and hubs make their profits, more and more credits will be produced (and Rands sucked into the system to buy all the extra food being created) until at some point we simply transact in the Commons Coin alone;
  • Because the OFN and Fund would be non-profit entities, any excess funds after paying fixed costs can be re-distributed back to food buyers and farmers, making future food purchases cheaper and cheaper;

Our vision is therefore to create wealth from the bottom up, from the hard work of the farmer and the bounty of Nature. Because money should not be created from the top down arbitrarily by governments (fiat currency) or created when a computer solves a maths algorithm (bitcoin).

The video below shows how this could work even on communal land in the Eastern Cape (for instance).