The prediction by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that an additional 130 million could be pushed into chronic hunger during 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have come true. This is a call for farmers, Government and business to step up to their collective responsibility to ensure food security, says Aron Kole, managing director of FarmSol.
The United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that as of April this year, 296 million people are undernourished in the 35 countries where it works. That rise of 60% on the year before is a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest National Poverty Lines released by Stats SA in August 2020, indicate that a person livining in South Africa today needs at least R585 to ensure basic required energy intake per month.
Such reports regarding the challenges of people who try to stave off hunger – doesn’t bode well for governments, the world and ultimately the people who experience the brunt of food insecurity.
But where does this leave farmers? Is it a sign that farmers are failing the world or are governments and business failing farmers? The answers are complex, suffice to say, the response to food security is everybody’s business.
No single entity or category of stakeholders can ensure food security by themselves, without the support of various cross-sector collaboration efforts. We believe that food security and alleviating poverty is a collective responsibility.
In partnership with FarmSol, South African Breweries will be supporting 982 new smallholder farmers with mentorship and production input – in the Eastern Cape province – as part of our contribution to household food security.
As part of the partnership, farmers have also gained access to valuable support services, production and infrastructure loans as well as FarmSol’s mechanisation programme, aimed at supplying farmers with planting and harvesting equipment when and where they need it.
Last year, we entered into a year-long collaboration with John Deere, which complemented its mechanisation programme by exposing farmers to John Deere’s latest farming technology.
This year, FarmSol partnered with the South African Cultivar Association to fund crops that do not fall under the SAB umbrella.
We truly consider the food security a collective responsibility.