More than 7 000 food gardens in private households, and 610 community food gardens reaching almost 5 500 beneficiaries have been supported in the Western Cape since 2009.
In my capacity as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture, I will commission the Research Unit in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) to do a comprehensive study of the importance of food gardens, and how government can be most efficient in ensuring food security.
14.1 million (26%) people in South Africa are still susceptible to hunger and malnutrition, 23% of the people in the Western Cape are food insecure. Levels of absolute poverty steadily increased from 12.0 million in 2011, 13.6 million in 2012, and 13.8 million in 2013. Food security is at risk due to increased poverty and disasters such as the current drought. As such, food gardens are key in helping indigent families who struggle with the increasing food prices. The Western Cape is also focusing on establishing Agri Processing in rural areas as food prices are much higher for people living there than in the cities.
Community projects receive financial support in excess of R120 000. This aid is spent mainly on irrigation, production inputs, protective clothing and tools. A priority is given to women, youth and people with disability. Households receive a support for production inputs and protective clothing, priority is given to those on the indigent persons on the indigent registers. Applicants are required complete training so as to become eligible to receive aid.
The right to food is enshrined in the Constitution, and the recent drought has highlighted that food security is at risk. The rollout of the the Food and Nutrition Policy in the DA-led Western Cape is essential to create a fair society so that the people can realise their full potential.
Beverley Schäfer, MPP
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture