Food plan to ease hunger in drought-stricken provinces
A FOOD Security and Nutrition Indaba being held in Benoni is expected to outline steps the government will take this year to alleviate poverty in the country.
The Indaba comes a few months after eight provinces were declared disaster areas because of the ongoing drought.
While recent rains have provided farmers in hard-hit areas such as the northern Free-State with respite from the dry spell, the two-day forum, hosted by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, alongside the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, aims to look into how South Africans can access nutritious and affordable food.
According to the General Household Survey released by Statistics South Africa, the number of people who have little or no access to food went up from 12.6 million in 2011 to 14.3 million in 2015.
Unicef has said malnutrition contributed to nearly half the deaths of children under five in Africa and Asia, adding that poor nutrition in the first 1 000 days of a child’s life leads to stunted growth, affects children’s cognitive ability and reduces school performance.
Delegates have so far discussed the purpose of the food plan, what it means, as well as the impact nutritious food will have on poverty-stricken communities.
The food plan was presented before Parliament in November and is yet to be legislated into law.
The delegates also spoke about the challenges facing the country such as the lack of buying power by low-income households, and weak disaster-management and farmersupport networks, both of which crumbled under pressure last year.