We need a par­a­digm shift about food se­cu­rity

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Ma­pula Mok­aba-Phuk­wana

THOMAS Sankara had es­tab­lished an or­gan­i­sa­tion called Ter­res Vi­vantes – Thomas Sankara. Among its ob­jec­tives was a need for the re-eval­u­a­tion of ru­ral life, fam­ily farm­ing and food sovereignty.

We cel­e­brated Child Pro­tec­tion Week last week at a time when the abuse of chil­dren had reached alarm­ing pro­por­tions.

It pains us as moth­ers to see our chil­dren, whom we love so much, be­ing sub­jected to all these kinds of abuses by peo­ple they trusted so much.

Vi­o­lence has long-last­ing con­se­quences for chil­dren.

Dif­fer­ences be­tween cou­ples will al­ways be there but chil­dren should not be­come ca­su­al­ties in the process.

You can­not pre­vent a wife or lover from di­vorc­ing you by threat­en­ing to kill the child.

Again, women who give birth and dump their ba­bies in the dust­bins are dis­gust­ing to say the least.

Let me also high­light and em­pha­sise that chil­dren do not de­serve to go hun­gry be­cause the mother had gam­bled with the child sup­port grant or the fa­ther force­fully de­manded the money to go and buy al­co­hol.

When a child is born it rep­re­sents hope and a bet­ter life in fu­ture. Now the gov­ern­ment has since re­alised that some chil­dren are un­able to per­form to their abil­i­ties as a re­sult of hunger at school.

As a rem­edy the na­tional school nutri­tion pro­gramme has since been rolled out to schools, pop­u­larly known as feed­ing schemes.

How­ever, this is not enough as it only caters for chil­dren dur­ing school hours. Par­ents still have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to sup­port their chil­dren be­yond school. As the gov­ern­ment, we have learnt with shock cases of peo­ple steal­ing and sell­ing food meant for school­child­ren.

As a way of pro­tect­ing chil­dren against pos­si­ble mal­nu­tri­tion, par­ents are hereby en­cour­aged to have back­yard gar­dens where they plough veg­eta­bles such as spinach, beans, sweet pota­toes and cab­bages. These should be an in­te­gral part of ev­ery meal in the house. The ben­e­fits thereof in­clude kids who grow up healthily on a bal­anced diet.

It will not be a show of love when we al­low our chil­dren to frown at these veg­eta­bles and in­sist on pro­cessed foods and fatty take­aways. If we al­low them to pick and choose as they wish, we can­not win the war against obe­sity. We will have to part with a lot of money in fu­ture for treat­ing dis­eases we could have pre­vented dur­ing in­fant stages of our chil­dren.

Last year we ex­pe­ri­enced drought in some parts of the prov­ince. Part of the strate­gies we need to de­vise is to learn to save for rainy days.

Hav­ing just cel­e­brated Child Pro­tec­tion Week, let us also teach our chil­dren that wa­ter is a scarce com­mod­ity and must be used wisely.

I agree with Sankara that his coun­try pro­duced enough to feed them all.

Alas, for lack of or­gan­i­sa­tion, they were forced to beg for food aid.

It’s aid that in­stils in our spir­its the at­ti­tude of beg­gars in a coun­try of abun­dant food.

WRITE TO US Par­ents should plant back­yard gar­dens

MEC of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment in Lim­popo

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