CAPE TOWN – As World Food Day is celebrated across the world, over 19 million South Africans experienced hunger on this day.
The day which is celebrated on 16th October every year, highlights the plight of 870 million undernourished people in the world. Most of them live in rural areas where their main source of income is agriculture.
With the levels of hunger and malnutrition having intensified as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Environmental justice NGO, Biowatch South Africa says urgent food system transformation and transition to agroecology are needed to address the food crisis engulfing the country.
“The pandemic has exposed the pre-existing fault-lines in the food system, including extreme and growing inequality, hunger at crisis levels, diet-related ill-health, and corporate-dominated food systems with little semblance of democratic control. The corporate-industrial food sector claims it has been able to meet the food needs of the nation through the pandemic,”
“But fully stocked supermarket shelves do not translate into food security for all. It merely shows that the corporate food system responds to the narrow needs of the relatively privileged in our society. For a substantial portion of the society, these shelves are a mirage of plenty in a sea of want without any realistic access,” said Vanessa Black Biowatch’s advocacy, research and policy coordinator.
According to the latest National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) results, released at the end of September, show that the 3-million jobs lost as an immediate result of the lockdown have not returned as the lockdown has eased.
“The poor are facing unrelenting pressure. A substantial portion of the population in South Africa face a permanent food crisis, with millions daily confronting the existential question of where to find enough food to survive. Although the picture is bleak, the crisis opens an opportunity to rethink our social and economic systems,” added Black.
The theme for this year’s World Food Day 2020 is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.”
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