Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development Lebogang Maile has expressed concern at the high levels of hunger as well as an overly concentrated and expensive food system.
He has urged residents to engage in subsistence farming and to take up government initiatives to curb hunger.
Subsistence farming is self-sufficiency farming in which the farmers focus on growing enough food to feed themselves and their families. Subsistence farmers have a range of crops and animals needed by the family to feed and clothe themselves during the year.
Hunger and food insecurity affects over three million people in Gauteng.
According to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy from April 2014 to April 2015, the cost of a basic food basket in South Africa increased from R491 to R514 with the price of staples experiencing a 50 percent hike between 2013 and 2014, making basic food unaffordable to many poverty stricken households.
“When the price of staples increases at this level, it not only pushes many families to abject poverty but is also leads to a vicious cycle that sparks soaring prices for meat and poultry.
“The fact that the poor have to resort to skipping meals and or reducing rations to cope with hunger when 30 percent of the food produced in this country is lost through waste and dumping is an indictment to the food industry,” MEC Maile said.
The province has the Gauteng Twenty-Year Food Security Plan which is aimed at reducing the levels of food insecurity to 5 percent by 2030.
The plan also supports community food gardens with inputs, training and equipment.
Gauteng has supported over 60 000 community food gardens with technical and resources support since 2009.
The province’s interventions to integrate black small holder farmers in the food production industry has resulted in over 40 percent of the fresh produce supplied to public hospitals in Gauteng being sourced from this sector.
Over 60 000 community food gardens have received technical and resources support from the Gauteng government since 2009.