Govt, private sector partner against hunger

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cape Town - Government has partnered with the private sector and non governmental organisations to fight against hunger, malnutrition and extreme deprivation.

Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya on Monday signed a pledge at the inauguration of the Food Bank South Africa (FBSA), committing government to working closely with Community Food banking networks.

"The pledge symbolises government, business and civil society's continued commitment and partnership to eradicate poverty and improve the quality of lives of all South Africans," the minister said.

Minister Skweyiya called on these various sectors to focus on rural poverty in the face of current global financial crisis and rising prices of basic foods.

"Government alone can not adequately address poverty and hunger issues in this country, hence the call for civil society organisations and the private to work with government in this programme," the minister said.

Minister Skweyiya, who is the co-chairperson of National Steering Committee for the FBSA, said the programme would contribute to the eradication of rural poverty and benefit vulnerable children and families in dire need of basic services.

The FBSA is Africa's largest food redistribution network, which provides immediate relief to vulnerable people who are unable to receive adequate financial assistance.

Food banks collect donated food at a central warehouse where it is inspected for quality and safety issues and has the branding removed.

The food is then sorted into nutritionally balanced parcels and distributed to affiliated non-government organisations that make food available to the people who need it.

The beneficiaries of the food banks include non-profit organisations operating as part of a church and government or community group, commonly called food pantry.

Food banks receive their food from companies or supermarkets that have excess stock as well as donations from businesses.

They distribute goods including canned and boxed dry groceries, fresh produce, frozen foods, bakery products and some personal hygiene or household cleaning products.