Food security a major concern for rural FS
FOOD security is a major concern if recent poverty statistics are anything to go by.
According to Statistics SA, the proportion of the population living in poverty declined from 66.6% (31.6 million persons) in 2006 to 53.2% or 27.3 million in 2011, but increased to 55.5% or 30.4 million in 2015.
The number of persons living in extreme poverty, such as persons living below the 2015 Food Poverty Line of R441 per person per month, in South Africa increased by 2.8 million, from 11 million in 2011 to 13.8 million in 2015.
The agriculture department reported last year that 600 000 residents in the province struggle to feed themselves and their families.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana will be in QwaQwa on Monday to address questions about food security in the province and country.
Zikwana will commemorate World Food Day.
He will be joined by MEC for agriculture and rural development Oupa Khoabane, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation country representative Dr Lewis Hove and Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality mayor Vusi Tshabalala.
This event is especially important as recent Stats SA findings point to growth in poverty in South Africa.
Keeping with the theme of migration, further findings showed that the Western Cape and Gauteng have shown the lowest levels of poverty over 15 years due to having wealthier populations and more job opportunities.
More rural provinces such as the Eastern Cape and Limpopo have remained the poorest since 2001.
“Regardless of the difference observed in poverty levels between money metrica and multidimensional measures, there is regularity in the ranking. This means that irrespective of the measure used, the poorest provinces are consistent,” Stats SA said.
This would mean the migration of people from these provinces to more urban centres where prospects of wealth and getting a meal are greater.
The Free State, according to Stats SA, has 64% of its children on grants among the three highest percentages in the land, indicating the need for aggressive attention focused on developing provinces with large rural settlements.
Rural development remains a critical tool to reducing poverty in the country.
Stats SA noted that rural areas seemed to have been hit more by the 200708 financial crisis than urban areas.
Additionally migration can have a reversed role where urban people move from an urban area back to a rural setting, further compounding the poverty problem.
“This might be influenced by people who had lost their jobs in urban areas during the crisis, resulting in them having to return to their rural areas of origin and thus pushing up poverty levels in those areas.
“Another possible reason for the increase could be that remittances and other financial transfers from those in urban areas decreased, again a byproduct of the financial crisis, putting additional pressure on individuals in rural areas that depend on those resources to survive,” Stats SA said.
FOOD SECURITY: Rural development remains a critical tool.