by Grain Sa

Food security SA

What is the government doing?

The government has plans to help secure food for its people for next year
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The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has devised policies that recognise the roles that small-holder farmers and co-operatives can play towards diversifying food production from commercial farmers.There have been good opportunities for commercial farmers. Co-operatives can play a very important role in curbing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment in South Africa. We have to be creative about food security and how to ensure how every South African household can have a constant healthy supply of food. South Africa has 230 000 land reform beneficiaries and emerging farmers and 35 000 commercial farmers.

The current challenges in the agriculture sector include a shrinking commercial farmer community, inadequate assistance to smallholder farmers, increasingly rising food prices and climate change.

Some of the constraints that smallholder farmers face relate to lack of access to land, poor physical and institutional infrastructure. Most smallholder farmers are located in rural areas and mostly in the former homelands where lack of both physical and institutional infrastructure limits their expansions. Lack of access to proper roads, for example, limit the ability of a farmer to transport inputs, produce and also access information.

The primary goal the Department is to develop SMMEs while balancing this with the needs of the commercial sectors.

Our government is working extremely hard to assist smallholder farmers to become commercial farmers. As this will ultimately improve the nation and improve the farmers livelihoods.

For example, through the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative (MRDI), we have managed to assist communities in rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape with the infrastructure development. In the Eastern Cape, ur engineers are building milling plants, irrigation schemes and other infrastructure that needs work.

Our mechanisation plan has assisted eight provinces that are in need of implements, tractors and seeds.

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