It is with great excitement that Agri SA calls upon the government and private sector to contribute to the R1 billion food drive initiative in a collective effort to feed food insecure communities throughout South Africa.

Lees dit in Afrikaans

With the winter upon us, COVID-19 has struck, and many households are left food insecure, hopeless, and the need for human survival has never been greater. The pandemic hits us at a time of immense challenges in our country when food security and other systems have already been under strain. Natural disasters, climate change, unemployment, recession, conflict on labour relations and land expropriation without compensation, and a low thriving economy, just to name a few, preceded COVID-19 on a larger scale in South Africa.

Watch Agri SA Surplus food aid campaign video here:

Food insecurity has increased

On 15 March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa, declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act 57 of 2002). He said South Africa has the “knowledge, means and resources to defeat the virus”. However, the strictly enforced lockdown regulations have caused a lot of destruction in many households, which have left millions of people food insecure.

According to Stats SA, “since the start of the national lockdown, the proportion of respondents who have reported experiencing hunger increased from 4,3% to 7,0%”. This is based on a survey conducted on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and income in South Africa on 20 May 2020.

The Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga had the highest percentages of households that had severely inadequate access to nutritional food at 12,9%, 12,5% and 11,4% respectively. The Eastern Cape is one of the most food-insecure provinces in the country since nearly 70% of households spend less than R1 000, while only 7,6% or slightly more spend R3 500 on food per month in households of the more affluent provinces such as Gauteng.

In South Africa, there are still 13 738 824 people (24,9% of the population) with inadequate access to food. We need to tackle all the food security and nutrition dimension of this crisis.

Farmers can make a difference

Agri SA challenges farmers, individuals and companies to contribute to the R1 billion food drive in a collective effort to ensure food security in many households in South Africa.

There are several ways to contribute to the R1 billion food aid initiative. We welcome any sponsorship, donation, cash, vouchers, food aid in any form and a contribution to transport costs to provide food aid to those in need. Various agricultural entities are also embarking on their own initiatives, and these efforts can also be integrated with the R1 billion food aid initiative.

Through the R1 billion food initiative, hungry families will be provided with food, thereby building on the human dignity of those in need. Thus, by bringing knowledge and awareness of this pandemic through our innovative ways and actions in order to combat rising famine.

The short-term impact of COVID-19 is immediately and effortlessly felt by all, due to the widespread lockdown regulations and other imposing economic reasons. This national emergency demands co-operation, collaboration and common action and this pandemic it is already set to have long-lasting profound economic, social, political, and cultural impacts. We call on all to assist where and when we can through this R1 billion food drive initiative. – Press release, Agri SA