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SA focuses on small scale farmers to boost food security

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, says the department aims to double investment in local food value chains to benefit smallholder and subsistence farmers who struggle to penetrate formal markets. During this years World Food Day commemoration held virtually, Didiza said the department will use infrastructure development and agricultural markets as stimuli to localise the countrys food system for local economies. Cementing our intentions in this regard, and as part of advancing agro-processing and the agro-food system, the team in my department has developed the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan (AAMP). At the heart of this blueprint is deliberate attention given to transforming agriculture value chains, which provides bursting possibilities to remove some of the reform, Didiza said on Friday. World Food Day is commemorated annually to promote global awareness and advocate collective action to assist those who suffer from hunger. The day highlights the need to ensure a healthy diet for all. This years World Food Day is observed under the theme, Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life. Identified strategic actions Didiza said South Africa has identified four strategic actions to drive its pathway towards food systems transformation. The strategic actions include: Enhancement of sustainable local production for local consumption of safe, nutritious and indigenous foods; Promotion of social, economic and environmental resilience; Facilitation of inclusive, sustainable and competitive value chains, and Promotion of integrated food systems policies, legislation, planning and governance. The Minister said after the United Nations Food Systems Summit was held, countries need to implement their pathways towards transformed food systems. Climate variability Didiza said climate variability and change continue to affect agriculture in more fundamental ways, and present extra layers of stress to already constrained agricultural production. The agricultural sector is the most sensitive of all sectors after biodiversity, and must adapt to the variable climatic conditions by adopting climate-smart agriculture, the Minister said. She said the Paris Climate Deal raised hope for agricultural mitigation and adaptation, and could lead to improved agricultural productivity, income generation and job creation. The deal conveys a powerful statement of intent, which could have an enormous footprint on the food security landscape, said the Minister. While admitting that the department could not have wall-to-wall coverage to assist farmers through the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative, Didiza said the department is able to provide disaster relief to about 53 000 beneficiaries, of which 40 884 are women. Effective policies securing food for all Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Deputy Minister, Thembisile Nkadimeng, said government must continue to implement effective and efficient policies that enable an environment with secure food supply for all. Overcoming hunger is the most basic requirement for developmental achievement because inclusive growth, social equality, long-term development [and] social cohesion cannot occur when our people are hungry, Nkadimeng said. Nkadimeng stressed the need to assist local farmers to better connect with the agriculture value chain, as this will improve the distribution of food. She said municipalities continue to promote policies that advocate for the purchasing of food that is produced and prepared in closed proximities of consumers. Poverty line North West MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desbo Mohono, said poverty and unemployment remain stubbornly high in the country, especially in North West province, which currently has 1.7 million people living below the poverty line. COVID-19 exacerbated the situation and as the province, we were left with no choice but to see how best we can ensure that food security in rural districts is taken care of. Amidst the current strain, the department continues to drive its food security programme to ensure that we feed our nation and stimulate the economy that is hit hard by COVID-19. Our people in the province have welcomed the programme. We have partnered with other government departments. We have also partnered with the private sector to ensure that food security is being taken care of, Mohono said.

oct 16 2021 9:12am
How unhealthy is SA? Five key findings from the 'State of nutrition' report

Are you drinking enough water, eating too much salt and exercising enough? Check your habits against these expert recommendations.

sep 9 2021 7:44pm
lifestyle News : Mixed
Urgent food relief provided for communities affected by unrest

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says the department has provided food relief to communities that were affected by the outbreak of civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Zulu said this when the National Assembly considered the oversight report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the impact of the civil unrest in the two provinces on Wednesday. Addressing the House during the debate, Zulu said departmental interventions included the provision of food through centre-based feeding programmes including early childhood development facilities, community nutrition development centres (CNDCs), drop-in centres, home community-based care and old age homes. These are funded by the department to implement food-related interventions, among others. Since the advent of the incidents of unrest, over 12149 food parcels were issued in Gauteng province, feeding over 62509 people who were adversely affected. Over the same period, an additional 100430 people received meals from Community nutrition Development Centres. The Minister said in KwaZulu-Natal, food relief was provided through the centre-based feeding programme and social relief of distress by the department and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). To date, 42573 were provided with food at the CNDCs in that province, while 36734 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) vouchers were provided to the people affected. R100 million from Solidarity Fund to help laid off workers Meanwhile, said Zulu, the department has requested additional funding from the Solidarity Fund, to address the food challenges in the other provinces. The Fund has already pledged R100 million. She said the support will, among others, target workers that have been laid off from industries that have closed down. This includes households with a total income below the food poverty line of R585 a month, as well as applicants of social relief of distress administered by the department. The provinces started to implement the relief measures on the 16th of August 2021, she said. Zulu has called on different sectors of the economy to partner with government to help provide social relief to affected communities. Through re-invigorated people, public, private, civic, academic, multilateral partnerships, the departments programmes continue to be responsive while new interventions are emerging. Donors, non-profit organisations, business and universities are becoming part of these emerging partnerships, innovations that are unnecessary to undo the adversity that these incidents of civil unrest have brought into the lives of ordinary people. Government is making a call for active citizenship that is targeted at the sustainability where food security, the well-being of South Africans and nation building are concerned. Within that frame, we encourage the establishment of targeted people, public, private, civic, academic, multi-lateral partnerships among all concerned, she said.

aug 26 2021 3:47pm
KZN government restores dignity to needy learners

Restoring dignity to a school-going child and enhancing technology-based learning capabilities, topped the priorities of the KwaZulu-Natal government in shaping the future of a child. KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube made the remarks as her department handed over school uniforms and laptops to 150 needy pupils from three different schools in uThukela District Municipality on Friday. Dube-Ncube, who is also Operation Sukuma Sakhe uThukela District Champion, lived up to her pledge made earlier this year, to assist 150 needy people from three schools identified during a functionality monitoring programme. The learners are from Umbango Secondary School under Alfred Duma Local Municipality, Wembezi Secondary School under Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality, and Nsetheni Primary School under Ukhahlamba Local Municipality. Each school had 50 learners who received school uniforms, which included shoes and sanitary towel packs. Dube-Ncube who was represented at the event by uThukela District Mayor Siphiwe Mazibuko, said it is important that the dignity of an African child be restored and nurtured at all times. She said this can be achieved by always ensuring that children have the necessary uniform, as this increases confidence in a child. Apart from school uniforms which play a big role in building confidence in a young person, we also understand that a child has to attend school having eaten in order to concentrate in class. While the government has the important National School nutrition Programme, we want schools to supplement this by having a vegetable garden and fruit trees, Dube-Ncube said. The MEC also urged communities to play an active role in the education of children, noting that it takes a village to raise a child. Teachers and government cannot succeed when our communities do not prioritise the education of our children. We are looking at a bleak future if we ever forget that tomorrows generation face a tricky future which requires the involvement everyone to augment government efforts, she said. On technology, Dube-Ncube said assisting schools with laptops is a way to enhance learning capabilities, and to assist teachers in easing the paperwork, while assisting previously-disadvantaged learners with exposure to Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) based technology. One learner from Nsetheni Primary School who could not hold back his tears, said he was looking forward to wearing his uniform on Monday. I live with my mother and grandmother who cannot afford to buy us [uniforms]. This will assist the family as my other siblings will also benefit as we come from a struggling family, he said.

aug 20 2021 10:07pm
Sugar industry reiterates commitment to transformation

South African Sugar Association (SASA) Vice Chairperson, Joanmariae Fubbs, has commended the organisation for recognising the need to promote diversity by availing more land for black farmers in the industry. SASA has been able to transform more than 21% of free owned land on the sugarcane from white farmers to black farmers without a shot being fired, Fubbs said. Fubbs was speaking at the Women in Leadership webinar, hosted by Proudly South African on Wednesday. As part of its Womens Month celebrations, Proudly South African will hosting a series of four Women in Leadership webinars throughout August, focusing on industries that have Sectoral Master Plans dedicated to them. The master plans have targeted specific action points relating to the respective industries, but there are also generic objectives, including a change in ownership and production patterns within each sector. The master plans aim to increase localisation, which will lead to re-industrialisation and growth, as well as to reclaim domestic markets lost to imports. The clothing and textile sector, automotive industry, sugar, and creative arts sectors have been identified by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) as worthy of particular attention for their job creation potential. Empowering women to take their rightful place Fubbs said SASA has shifted its focus to women empowerment, compared to more than 20 years ago. {SASA] has focused on empowering women to take their rightful place alongside their brothers in the sugar industry, from being farm managers, farm owners, to actually being on the financial and administration side of SASA. SASA has done so much for the milling companies by encouraging the ownership of black people in the industry. SASA also has a training establishment which provides training in the agricultural fields. People in the sugar industry [largely rural poor areas] are able to get bursaries, where they can go right up to get their doctorates. I was amazed to see how many women were pursuing a career in the agricultural industry and enjoying it, Fubbs said. She noted that SASA is also contributing to and supporting the energy sector through the production of ethanol. While people often associate sugar to obesity, Fubbs said the product has benefits when consumed in the right quantity. The danger is, if industries such as the sugar industry have to close down, you will get ghost villages and towns in South Africa. SASA is determined to transform the profile of the industry from 100% white to assisting black sugarcane farmers, especially sugarcane farmers, Fubbs said. Consumer education nutrition Health and Wellness and Nestl nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA) Manager, Anne-Marie De Beer, said Nestle works very hard to help consumers make good decisions when it comes nutrition. What is important is to understand that we all enjoy food and it is very much part of what we do. When it comes to confectionery, our business is to provide guidance on product development, and encourage consumers to look at what they eat, De Beer said. She said Nestl also has consumer campaigns regarding confectionery. Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) Procurement Transformation Head, Busi Thusi, said the company is committed to true transformation, and that almost 80% of the sugar they use is procured locally.

aug 18 2021 10:53pm

aug 9 2021 10:40am
sports News : Mixed
Former President admitted to hospital

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has confirmed that former President Jacob Zuma has been admitted to an outside hospital for medical observation. As a former President, the healthcare needs of Mr Zuma require the involvement of the South African Military Health Services. This been the case since his admission at Estcourt Correctional Centre. A routine observation prompted that Mr Zuma be taken for in-hospitalisation, the DCS said in a statement on Friday. The former statesman was sentenced to 15 months in jail on 29 June for defying an instruction to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power. He is incarcerated at the Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal. The correctional centre is a medium B facility, which houses both youth and adult inmates. The centre also has a hospital section. The DCS said the health of inmates is addressed under Section 35(2) of the Constitution. This obliges the DCS to ensure that everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including at least exercise and the provision, at State expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, reading material and medical treatment.

aug 6 2021 6:53pm
Concern over Western Cape school vandalism

The Western Cape Education Department has reiterated its call to communities to take ownership of schools by protecting them following incidents of vandalism. The call comes after 38 schools in the province reported incidents of vandalism, burglary, or attempted burglary over the July school holidays. I am extremely disappointed that our schools have once again been targeted by ruthless criminals while closed for the holidays. Our schools are already operating in difficult circumstances, and the last thing they need is to be further disrupted by damages and theft, MEC Debbie Schfer said. Among the items stolen over the holidays included sports equipment, gardening and maintenance equipment, fencing, building fixtures, lighting and electrical cables, IT equipment, stationery, kitchen equipment, and food for school meals. Even where nothing was stolen, the MEC said attempts by the criminals to gain access to a school property, caused damage to infrastructure. She noted that in some cases, wanton vandalism appears to be the motive, and instead of stealing anything, the perpetrators simply destroyed anything from furniture to bathroom fixtures. These are pointless and malicious acts, with our children on the losing end as a result. To damage your local school is self-sabotage. Someone somewhere is going to be offered the goods stolen from our schools for sale. If this happens, please report it immediately. We had an incident last year when a member of the public reported seeing cans meant for use in the National School nutrition Programme (NSNP) at a shop, which led to a speedy arrest, Schfer said. R10m spent on repairs Schfer added that while the total cost of repairs and replacing stolen goods is still being assessed, the department has spent an estimated R10 million repairing damages in the 2020/21 financial year money that could have been spent on supporting our schools. Unfortunately, one of the incidents this holiday period resulted in the death of a security guard who confronted perpetrators. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and the school community. The district office has also offered counselling support to the school, the MEC said. The public is urged to report any suspicious activity in the vicinity of schools to the police, or the Safe Schools hotline on 0800 45 46 47.

aug 2 2021 6:46pm
Schools prepared to welcome back learners

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says educators and schools have been prepared ahead of the reopening of schools on Monday. During a media briefing on Saturday, the Minister said school management teams and support staff went back to work last Thursday to prepare for the return of learners and teachers. Based on the information obtained from provinces, schools are ready to continue to work within the established COVID-19 health protocols, and also to start resuming full school attendance in primary schools from 2 August 2021. The sector continues to be committed and at all times, we are ready to maintain a balance between saving lives and livelihoods, while fighting the Coronavirus pandemic, the Minister said. She said the Director-General is continuing to convene one-on-one meetings with the Heads of the Provincial Education Departments to ensure that there is continuous sharing of experiences and working together. In 2020, the President announced a R100 billion stimulus package which, among other things, was meant to support job creation. As part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme to address the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy and social infrastructure, the Department of Basic Education (DBE), in collaboration with Provincial Education Departments, implemented the Basic Education Employment Initiative, as part of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative. The DBE and the Provincial Education Departments were allocated R7 billion, with about R2.4 billion allocated to the saving of posts for teachers employed by school governing bodies (SGBs) and independent schools. From this allocation, 33 549 posts were saved, the Minister said. Through this programme, the sector employed 200 000 education assistants and 100 000 general school assistants.In total, about 320 000 young people benefitted from the employment opportunities. School vandalism Motshekga expressed concern at the vandalism of schools and education centres during the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. In KwaZulu-Natal 137 schools, three education centres, and eight circuit offices were affected by vandalism. This is unprecedented, and we are concerned as a sector that much-needed school infrastructure was damaged.This is a serious setback, as the sector is already under pressure to provide appropriate facilities for the schooling system, the Minister said. She said the province has made arrangements to ensure that all these schools do open on Monday and that teaching and learning continue. In Gauteng, 43 schools have been vandalised since beginning of the year. Eleven of the cases were reported after schools went on recess on 2 July 2021. Twenty-nine of the 43 schools have already been repaired and work is underway to finish the others as soon as possible. This senseless attack on the education infrastructure leads to the vandalism of ablution blocks and plumbing equipment; destruction of water supplies, including theft of school water tanks; ripping off of electric wires, especially copper cables; ripping school fences; setting alight libraries, textbooks and stationery. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and the National School nutrition Programme supplies and equipment were targeted the most.What is saddening is that most schools were left with serious structural damages, which would place the safety of learners and teachers at risk, the Minister said. She said the education sector is embarking on an integrated campaign to involve school governing bodies, law enforcement agencies, teacher unions, parents, and civil society to ensure the protection of schools. Amongst the many strategies agreed upon during our Council of Education Ministers (CEM) meeting, was on mobilising learners, educators, SGBs, teacher unions, community and traditional leaders, including faith-based communities, to safeguard schools. As a priority, we agreed on executive roadshows, paying special attention to identified hotspot areas, and to normalise learning environments, once schools reopen, the Minister said.

jul 26 2021 7:14pm
Experts Harp on MSG 's nutritional Value

jul 26 2021 7:14pm
mixed News : News