World Food Day focuses on migration impact on food security

While Pope Francis used World Food Day (WFD) – 16 October – to call on governments worldwide to address food security, South Africa was able to celebrate an improvement in its own food security.

World Food Day focuses on migration impact on food security
Minister Senzeni Zokwana and Free State MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Oupa Khoabane planting a food garden during household visits in Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State on World Food Day 2017.
Photo: Supplied by DAFF
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WFD commemorates the founding of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

This year’s theme focused on addressing migration through investing in food security and rural development.

This year was the first in over a decade to see a rise in global hunger. A total of 815 million people, or 11% of the global population, are undernourished, according to a statement.

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The Pope called for governments to collaborate to make migration a voluntary and safer choice. He argued that in order to assure food security for all, the world needed to tackle climate change and end conflicts.

Meanwhile, Farmer’s Weekly reported earlier this week that South Africa has climbed three points on the Dupont Food Security Index (GFSI). This was in spite of having weathered the worst drought in decades.

The country was one of the few that achieved positive traction in the past year. Overall, South Africa was placed 1st in Africa and 44th globally.

Official government WFD celebrations in QwaQwa in the Free State were attended by Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Free State MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Oupa Khoabane and other dignitaries, including SADC ambassadors, Insidro Adriano of Angola and Prof Chrissie Kaponda of Malawi.

In his address, Zokwana said that communities continued to face hunger and food insecurity, especially in rural areas. He added that more than 30 million South Africans lived in abject poverty, while an estimated 13,7 million were food-insecure.

“The unending scourge of poverty, inequality and unemployment is an unending battle we must all fight together,” he said.

Commenting on the WFD theme, Zokwana said that migration had far-reaching implications.

“We all have to deal with the problem of migration as it has a ripple effect in different sectors of our society by increasing the level of unemployment, crime, food insecurity, hunger and diseases, especially for our youth.”

He highlighted partnerships with other SADC countries aimed at invigorating value chains in the region.

Zokwana and other dignitaries visited several projects in the QwaQwa area on the day. These included, among others, the Lejwe Motho project, a vegetable farming operation, and Dagbreek Farm, which belongs to 75-year-old farmer LJ Makoele.

Various community projects benefitted from donations from the FAO. Sebabatso poultry, Lehlohonolo vegetable garden and Tseseng wool growers were awarded R20 000 each, according to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Zokwana unveiled a ‘food mountain’ to symbolise the need for more food in the world to feed the people of the world.