The high rate of unemployment in Mzansi is threatening food security and sustainability in many households. To combat this, the North West agriculture department is supporting communities with inputs for food gardens.
As part of the ongoing World Food Day awareness, the department has decided to take the initiative on the ground and ensure that communities understand the importance of food availability in their homes.
Prioritising food security
According to the department, they supported more than 500 households with food packages, garden inputs and fresh produce during their provincial tour in Dikebu village in North West.
MEC Desbo Mohono said with poverty levels sitting at 52.2% in the province, food security programmes have been able to touch the lives of many communities and households by being able to put nutritious food on the table.
Mohono emphasised that backyard gardens were not only helpful in bringing food to the table for destitute families but could also double up as a profitable business.
The department gave away food parcels, goats, rams, gardening tools and seedlings to beneficiaries including households and schools.
A much-needed assistance
One of the beneficiaries, Sinah Nkoane who survives on the government’s foster child grant for her two orphaned grandchildren, said she appreciated the commitment of the department in addressing food insecurity, especially in remote villages.
“The majority of us living in Dikebu Village live in poverty and are unable to meet daily nutritional requirements. Worse, we survive by continuously lending money which we have to return at the end of the month.
“This means that the money from social grants does not cover monthly basic needs. The intervention received here today will assist us in feeding our families and I am grateful to the department for coming to our village,” Nkoane said.
Intensifying food security efforts
Mohono acknowledged that despite all interventions, food insecurity remains a silent catastrophe, one that remains largely unacknowledged and tolerated.
“The department has consequently employed the food and nutrition security plan as a means of ensuring improvement and addressing the triple concerns of hunger, poverty, and inequality.
“During my 2023/2024 budget vote earlier this year, I did make mention of the fact that, as the department, we have to intensify our efforts when it comes to food security.”
According to Mohono, since the budget votes they have helped with seedlings, chickens, vegetable packages, and rolling out the goat programme.
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