Agri SA has announced the launch of a whopping R1 billion food surplus campaign, challenging both the private sector and government to gear up for the battle against the exacerbated hunger pandemic in the country.
Lockdown regulations as a result of the covid-19 pandemic continues to severely impact on South African households, leaving millions food insecure, says Christo van der Rheede, deputy executive director of Agri SA. He says with the country in the grip of winter, the global health crisis has become even more acute, leaving many hopeless and the desperation for human survival even greater.
Through the R1 billion food initiative, hungry families will be provided with food, building on the human dignity of those in need. Furthermore, Van der Rheede adds that the project will be “bringing knowledge and awareness of this pandemic through our innovative ways and actions in order to combat rising famine.”
Since the beginning of the covid-19 lockdown farmers and organised agriculture have been a testament to the adage that not all heroes wear capes. The sector has shown no limits in its generosity as members continue to donate food and support to impoverished communities left destitute by the global crisis.
Van der Rheede says, “The short-term impact of covid-19 is immediately felt by all, due to the widespread lockdown regulations and in light of the economic constraints brought on by the virus.”
Since the start of the lockdown on 27 March this year, the percentage of the South African population who have reportedly experienced hunger have sharply increased from 4.3% to 7%. According to a Stats SA survey conducted in May, more than 13 billion South Africans now reportedly live with inadequate access to food.
The Eastern Cape is reportedly one of the most food insecure provinces, with 70% of households spending less than R1 000 per month on food per household, compared to the affluent provinces like Gauteng where households reportedly spent R3 500 per month.
The Northern Cape recorded a staggering 12.9% of households who had severely inadequate access to nutritious food, followed by North West at 12.5% and Mpumalanga at a recorded 11.4%.
Agri SA’s announcement is a collaborative response in partnership with, among others, Western Cape-based agricultural input supplier Yara Africa Fertilizer. There is an urgent need for solidarity in the fight against the rampant scourge of hunger, says Van Der Rheede.
“This national emergency demands cooperation, collaboration and common action, this pandemic is already set to have long-lasting, profound economic, social, political, and cultural impacts,” he says.
- There are several ways to contribute to the R1 billion food aid initiative. Agri SA welcomes any sponsorship, donation, cash, vouchers, food aid in any form and a contribution to transport costs to provide the food aid to those in need. This is a nationwide call to action. Donations to the surplus food aid initiative will be channeled to provincial affiliates and non-profit organisations.