WORLD FOOD DAY: Minister Fernandez highlights importance of food security
Today, 16 October 2020, marks the annual commemoration of World Food Day.
The global theme for this year's World Food Day 2020 is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.”
World Food Day is notably known as a day to create worldwide awareness amongst the public for those who suffer from hunger.
The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed been a challenging period for not only many South Africans, but billions of people around the globe.
The recent NIDS CRAM Survey Wave 1, indicates that approximately 3 million South Africans lost their jobs between February and April 2020 and that 1 in 5 persons experienced hunger.
As a Government, we are aware that COVID-19 cannot be addressed with just a health response. Whilst the health response has formed the centre of Government’s efforts, a series of other measures were put in place to protect the well-being and livelihoods of many residents in the Western Cape, in particular, the most vulnerable.
In order to ensure food security for the most vulnerable citizens in the Province, the Western Cape government established a Humanitarian Relief workstream to coordinate humanitarian relief efforts in the province.
This workstream, led by the Provincial Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, comprises of representatives from various provincial departments, municipalities, SASSA, and the Solidarity Fund, amongst others and reports into a provincial council established as per the COGTA Disaster Management regulations.
As of August 2020, the Humanitarian workstream can report that the following food relief efforts have been provided to residents in the Western Cape. These efforts have been achieved through the work of government, businesses, Non-Governmental Organisations, Faith-based Organisations and Civil Society.
- 15 399 224 meals: 7.3 million-state/ 8.06 million- Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs)
- 426 127 food parcels: 277 657 food parcels- state/ 148 470 food parcels- Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs)
- 8 503 390 learner meals
- 4 500 homeless people supported with shelter and food
- SASSA: 369 807 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants paid out and other grants topped up.
The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said, “ We know that these figures do not reflect the actual number which is much higher, since there are thousands of individuals who are providing food in communities to vulnerable neighbours and family members. Thank you to the many active citizens who continue to provide much needed food aid.
I am aware that many organisations and people are suffering from donor fatigue at this stage. However, I am of the belief that for us to get through this challenging period, each of us has a part to play.”
Minister Fernandez continued, “I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to helping us ensure that our residents enjoy at least one meal per day. Your support has been truly remarkable and as a government, we are appreciative of your ongoing efforts.
Only a whole of society approach, engaging all sectors of society, can we fight food insecurity in the Western Cape as we aim to move from food aid to food security.