Drive to improve food security

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pretoria - Government will launch a massive food security drive in Vanderbijlpark, south of Gauteng, on Friday to reduce poverty and hunger in the country.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has adopted October as Food Security Month, where they will drive a massive awareness campaign about food production.

During the month, South Africans will be mobilised to take action against food insecurity and to help one another with donations of food and planting of food gardens.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Deputy Minister Bheki Cele will launch the food security drive themed ‘Through Food Security, Job Creation and Economic Growth - We move South Africa Forward’.

Deputy Minister Cele will use the launch to ask South Africans to make food donations, which will be packed to build a food mountain on October 16 during the commemoration of World Food Day.

The food mountain is set to be the highest South Africa has ever seen and details of drop-off points will be announced at the launch.

On the day, the department plans to showcase its state of readiness of the planting season with Deputy Minister Cele and MECs of Agriculture physically planting maize seeds.

This will be followed by an exhibition displaying produce from the local farmers and careers in agriculture aimed at attracting the youth.

The launch will also see the announcement of activities that the department will do during the month. These include the commemoration of International Rural Women’s Day on October 15, World Food Day on October 16 and the International Day of Poverty Alleviation on October 17.

The Millennium Development Goals, to which South Africa is a signatory, have set the goal of halving the proportion of people who go hungry over the period 1990 and 2015, and to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014. 

According to the National Development Plan (NDP), a well implemented strategy to boost agricultural output could create up to 1 million jobs by 2030.

South Africa is food secure and has been for a number of decades, meaning that it earns a trade surplus from agricultural exports and is able to cover the cost of food import from those exports.

The NDP proposes that South Africa’s food security goal should be to maintain a positive trade balance for primary and processed agricultural products not to achieve food self-sufficiency in staple foods at all costs.

Currently, poor households are feeling the effects of retail food price increases much more severely than better-off households. -

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