A crash course in changing the world.
Food Security in South Africa, and especially Africa on a wh*** is global issue requiring input, help and innovative solutions from the global community. With the Western world's revolution to move from processed and chemically treated foods, to 'greener' organically grown foods, it is ultimately the poorer developing nations of Africa that stand to suffer. Farmers in these arid, water-scarce countries would rather opt to sell their best crops to giant European and North American importers in the hope of gaining large amounts of wealth, not really worrying about the local populace. This is evident in South Africa, where our best and choicest produce is exported overseas, and whatevers left (and the B-grade stuff) is whats sold locally.
South Africa has been facing numerous droughts in our food producing regions in the last 5 years. Our cattle farming and maize production industries have been so severly affected, that farmers had to request aid from government to help survive the drought. South Africa is also a water-scarce country, with a burgeoning urban population, where younger, skilled individuals are leaving rural farmlands to move to big urban citites in the hopes of securing a safer financial future. This creates a huge gap in the availability of training for new farmers and the skills required to farm effectively.
Our government has recenlty decided to allocate land/farms to previously disadvantaged communities, in the hopes that these communities will utilize the land as a means for providing for future generations. many collegest and universities of technology now offer degrees in agricultural sciences and animal husbandry in the hopes of researching and utilizing new and effective farming techniques to produce maximum crop yield.
While these initiatives by government have had a positive impact, they have also had a negative impact. Some of these farmers lack the skills and education to effectivley manage and produce crops and land resources. By intervening, I belive that the government has made a hasty decision. instead of first ensuring that the recipients of this land are educated and skilled enough in the techniques required for farming, government merely handed out the land in a 'first-come-first-served' basis, and now that this land is standing stagnant, government wishes to re-distribute it.
South Africa is a agriculturally intensive nation, where agricuture accounts for the second largest contribution to our GDP (after mining). Our major produce includes maize (which is milled to make mielie-meal, the staple of many of the poor), wheat, lamb, and many fruit crops. Many of the major milling conglomerates recently face huge fines from government for alleged price-fixing of maize and wheat prices. Some people still cannot believe what a loaf of bread in SA costs, considering the price just 10 years ago!
If companies are allowed to get away with deals like this, how are we ever to address food secuirty in a developing nation? If you asked what happend with the money received from the fine, where did it go to? Did it pay for new people to get the skills and training to become adept farmers? Or line governments coffers?
There are numerous NGO's that are assisting various communities to obtain the skills to work the land.
many of these NGO's have made it their objective to educate and uplift these communities in a time where food has become a luxury for many.
Food security in South Africa can only be properly addressed by analyzing SA's changing climate, taking into account water reserves and availbiltiy, selecting crops that will thrive under these specific conditions, assigning land for the production of these crops, and ultimatley educating people in the management and technologies required to gain maximum yields.