Joburg market feeds the hungry

Monday, February 23, 2009

Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market (JFPM) has teamed up with the City of Johannesburg to prepare 9 000 food hampers for poverty-stricken households in all seven city regions.

The aim of the project is to alleviate poverty, especially among families infected with or affected by HIV and AIDS, and child-headed homes, reports

Kgosiento Ramokgopa, the market's chief executive officer, said the food hampers were part of a range of measures to mitigate the effect of food prices on the poor. Food prices have risen sharply recently.

"There is ample food in the country, but it is not always affordable for everyone.

"The poor are punished the most as they spend up to 70 percent of their money on food. The average ... food prices across the spectrum has increased by 36 percent. It is catastrophic for the poor."

Other measures included educating the public to shop smartly by comparing prices and switching to alternative food commodities to cope with rising prices, said Mr Ramokgopa.

The hampers are prepared by the market's Food Bank unit and are made up of five basic fresh produce commodities. These include cabbage, carrots, onions, butternut and potatoes, providing nutrition for the poor.

The food hamper project has also created jobs for seven people, who are involved in preparing the hampers.

The Joburg Food Bank is a non-profit organisation that was established in 2005 by the JFPM in partnership with the city's health and social development units to provide for the immediate and basic needs of needy people.