Pretoria: Gauteng MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, says the province is on track to intensify its campaign of encouraging people to grow their own food in light of rising food prices, which have skyrocketed in recent months.
Speaking to SAnews ahead of the upcoming World Food Day commemorations on October 16, Mayathula-Khoza said the move was prompted by their concern over what this meant for the stability of vulnerable households in the province.
“We are indeed concerned about the rising food prices as a province, even though we are food secure. As a department, we will be embarking on campaigns through which we will be encouraging our people to grow their own food.
“We want every household and school in the province to have a food garden. Again, we want to encourage our people to rehabilitate all illegal dumping sites and turn them into community gardens,” said the MEC.
By so doing, communities could save on what they spent on food and safeguard themselves against escalating prices, she said.
The 32nd World Food Day event will be held in Sokhulumi village, outside Bronkhorspruit, on October 16.
The purpose of the commemoration is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Furthermore, it is to enlighten communities about the importance of indigenous knowledge food systems and the important role they can play in attaining food security and sovereignty.
The day also seeks to promote the production and consumption of indigenous foods as a source of vital nutrients.
The efforts of and contributions by women, youth and people with disabilities- led agricultural cooperatives in the attainment of food security, job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation are also recognised on the day.
The theme of this year’s World Food Day is ‘Agricultural Cooperatives Feeding the Nation’.
Mayathula-Khoza said the event will showcase the mechanisation scheme that is part of the Maize Triangle Plan, which aims to provide support and build capacity amongst farmers.
Through the plan, government aspires to ensure provincial food security by targeting the maize triangle area which spans Sedibeng, Metsweding and the East Rand.
“Under this theme, there will be practical demonstrations of the mechanisation scheme; tractors mounted with various implements will be deployed to perform the actual work of preparing communal lands at Sokhulumi village.
“Selected households will be assisted in establishing vegetable gardens and the procured tractors will be handed over to the already identified agricultural cooperatives in the province,” said Mayathula-Khoza.