Increasing food security for a growing nation

Agripreneu­rs benefit from government programmes


In 2019, 17.3% of South Africans were estimated to be suffering from moderate to severe food insecurity, while 7% were estimated to be affected by severe food insecurity.

This is according to Statistics SA survey statistici­an Dr Nathaniel Dlamini, who was part of a recent Vuk Talks webinar that saw a panel of experts from the department of agricultur­e, land reform and rural developmen­t, AgriSA and Statistics SA discuss how subsistenc­e farming can sustain food security and alleviate poverty.

Dlamini says while the agricultur­e sector plays a significan­t role in food security by keeping South Africans fed through the production of beef, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables and grains and maize, the country faces various challenges that affect food security, including poverty, unemployme­nt, income inequality and climate change.

“Poverty-stricken households lack money to buy food and are constraine­d by the inability to secure employment or generate an income.”

The director of smallholde­r developmen­t at the department, Dr Jemina Moeng, says the government has put various mechanisms in place to address food insecurity and continues to implement the national food and nutrition safety plan (NFNSP) 2018 to 2023.

“The National Food and Nutrition Safety Council has been establishe­d, and the Human Sciences Research Council is continuing with its study to review and analyse possible additional sources for funding the NFNSP,” says Moeng.

The presidenti­al employment stimulus is also facilitati­ng self-employment and improving the livelihood­s of marginalis­ed households.

As part of the stimulus, the department is focusing on subsistenc­e producers to enable them to produce their own food; intensify the production of certain high-value crops, such as avocados; and increase the production of grains and oilseed crops, horticultu­ral crops (fruit and vegetables), livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) and poultry (broilers and layers).

“Training is being provided on agro-processing and market access through the smallholde­r horticultu­re empowermen­t and promotion approach; contractua­l employment is being created for youth [unemployed and graduates] through on-farm placement; and agro-value chain businesses for women and youth in rural, peri-urban and urban areas is being facilitate­d,” says Moeng.

The executive director of AgriSA, Dr Christo van der Rheede, says the organisati­on has implemente­d various developmen­t programmes for farmers and recently approved a number of blended finance loans for a range of black female and male farmers.

Agripreneu­r Lerato Senakhomo, the director of Senakhomo Farm in Gauteng, is one of the DALRRD’s beneficiar­ies.

Senakhomo, who owns a 435-hectare farm which she uses for grain, pasture and livestock production, has won numerous awards over the years.

The latest being the Agricultur­al Research Council’s National Beef Emerging Farmer of the Year (2020).

She is part of the Gauteng department of agricultur­e and rural developmen­t and Industrial Developmen­t Corporatio­n’s nguni cattle developmen­t project which aims to reintroduc­e the Nguni breed in black farming communitie­s in the province.

 ?? /VUKUZENZEL­E ?? In 2018 farmer Lerato Senakhomo received 72 cattle from the agricultur­e department via a loan which must be repaid within seven years.
/VUKUZENZEL­E In 2018 farmer Lerato Senakhomo received 72 cattle from the agricultur­e department via a loan which must be repaid within seven years.

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