MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane Press Statement on World Food Day 2014

OCTOBER 16, 2014

As we will commemorate the World Food Day [today], I call on the people of the province to join our fight against poverty and hunger in the province.

The World Food Day is about talking about the actual work done by governments, civil society, business and families in fighting extreme poverty by providing food and much needed resources to help families and communities to have food security.

In our province, about 42.2 % people are estimated to be living in poverty and this is a worrying figure even though it has been declining.

The work we do in the province has managed to dent and reduce these numbers as more people have access to jobs, social relief programmes such as delivery of seedlings and equipment to start family food gardens.

In the current financial year, we are spending about R143 million on our cropping plan ploughing maize in all districts of the province to beat food insecurity by empowering communities and households to produce their own food.

It is important that each of poor households start their own food gardens to fight food insecurity.

As part of ensuring sustainable food secure households and communities, our department has distributed about 129 800 seedlings to about 16 rural and township communities, 60 x 50Kg pig feed to 6 rural projects, 187 x 50 Kg poultry feed to 8 rural projects.

People drawn from the poor households and community database manage majority of these projects, which have received inputs and equipment from our department.

In line with this, about 73 agriculture starter packs kits, which include rakes, hoes, spades, fork spades, wheel barrows were distributed to Ward 25 in Mbizana, Nelson Mandela Metro community and family food garden clubs, Emadlelweni Day Care in Lady Frere to capacitate beneficiaries to produce their own food and to earn income.

Looking at the amount of the inputs and equipment we have donated and handed over to communities, we are confident that the fruits and yields to harvest from these will make reduce poverty by huge margins.

We call on other sectors of society like business, media, civil society, churches, and academics to join our programme of fighting poverty. Our department gives seedlings, fork spades, spades, wheelbarrows, rakes, watering cans that can be used to start food gardens in poor communities.

Anyone interested to help poor communities can approach our department and we will provide them with the seedlings and equipment for those communities.

For us to defeat poverty, we need to work together as a collective to help those that lack food to have adequate and abundant food.

This years’ world food day, which is, family farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth, must encourage all of us to start these gardens to produce the much-needed food.

Increasing food prices make it difficult for the poor people in our society to buy food. If they do at all, they get the lower quality of what is produced.

If we can have each poor person and household start a garden, maintain it and continue planting crops on it, we will win the war against poverty.

So on this world food day, we call on the people of the Eastern Cape to partner with us in fighting poverty.

Those that can afford buying seedlings and all the needed equipment can go ahead and buy it and deliver them to the needy households and communities.

We also have food parcels, which are to cater for the households between the planting of their food garden and harvest time.

We need to stand up and help end poverty. We need to use the same energy we have on Mandela Day to plant these food gardens so that those who are hungry can have food and have it more abundantly.

As part of the world food day activities, tomorrow morning, I will be handing over about 1000 cabbage seedlings to Joy Community garden, a project working on alleviating poverty, creating jobs and encouraging self-reliance in Burgersdorp.