Limpopo most food secure province

2012-09-17 21:07
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Johannesburg - Limpopo is the most food-secure province in the country, giving more than 86% of people enough to eat, Gauteng agriculture MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said on Monday.

"We normally say rural areas are poor and that there is no food, but I think it is not true given these statistics," she said in Johannesburg.

"Limpopo is a rural province but people are food secure, 86.8% have access to food, but 5.4% of people have a severe lack of access to food."

Mayathula-Khoza was quoting from the latest Statistics SA general household survey.

It showed that KwaZulu-Natal was second with 82.9% of its people having enough to eat, and Gauteng was third with 81.5%.

"As Gauteng we surpass the national food security. Which is not bad," the MEC told reporters..

The province with the lowest access to food was the North West with 67.1%.

People in the Northern Cape had the highest percentage in terms of lack of access to food, the statistics showed, followed by the North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

She said it was important to realise that South Africa was food secure in general.

"In South Africa, 78.8% of people have access to food. I think it is a good indication that South Africa is food secure.

"We know in South Africa there are pockets of poverty, pockets of households who go to bed hungry."

The survey states that 6.5% of people in South Africa have a severe lack of access to food.

"It's not too bad but we are worried about the 6.5%... So we can't rest and think that we are okay."

Mayathula-Khoza spoke about World Food Day to be held on 16 October.

She said it was important to aggregate smaller farms into larger co-operative units to help improve food security in the country.

"Co-operatives allow small-scale farmers to sell their produce in bulk and enables them to be part of the monetary economy, thus ensuring their own food security."

She said a priority was to strengthen the ability of rural and urban households to play an active role in sustaining their livelihoods through agriculture.

"This will allow producers to capture the considerable economies of scale existing in the procurement of inputs and marketing of outputs."

She highlighted the importance of the participation of women in economic production to help food production and rural development.

"Through co-operatives women are able to unite in solidarity and provide a network of mutual support to overcome cultural restrictions to pursuing commercial or economic activities."

Empowerment of women and gender equality were important elements in achieving food security, the MEC said.

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