Rise Mzansi to tackle hunger in the Free State

Rise Mzansi to tackle hunger in the Free State

The Free State Provincial Convenor of Rise Mzansi, Nomsa Marchesi says her party in the bread basket province has five key pillars to end hunger affecting 125 721 households.

Ironically, though the Free State province has been dubbed the bread basket of the country, it still has a significant amount of households having difficulty in accessing food on a daily basis. According to Marchesi, Only 75,5% of households in the province have adequate access to food whilst 12,5% still scramble to have access to food. She says in Mangaung Metro Municipality 17,7% of households face severe struggles to obtain food.

Sighting the censors report of 2021 conducted by Stats SA, Marchesi says the report shows that limitations to food access result in hunger and undernourishment. According to the report, a total of 32, 896 households, which is about 4.8%, in Free State have limitations to accessing food.

“RISE Mzansi has identified hunger as the biggest threat to the well-being of South Africans. A big contributing factor to hunger is unemployment. Inequality remains stubbornly high due to significant differences in income levels resulting in some households struggling to access food,” said the Provincial Convenor.

“RISE Mzansi also notes that a significant amount of food ends up in landfills due to badly managed food chains and supply systems.

These errors affect the availability of food to the most vulnerable citizens. The Free State plays a significant role in agricultural production for the country. An estimated 10,000 children die in our country each year due to severe acute malnutrition,” continued Nomsa Marchesi.

Marchesi says 1 in 6 children are born with a low birth weight. And 3 in 10 children are stunted by the age of five, meaning they are underweight for their age. Out of 21 million children, nine million experience hunger while half of South Africans will experience food scarcity by 2025.

The provincial leader says Rise Mzansi is serious in tackling hunger in the Free State and has a five pillar plan on how the party is going to deal with it. She outlined them as follows:

Stop food waste immediately through new legislation:                                                  

The new legislation will require farmers, food companies and retail outlets to separate unselected, unused, or unsold food of good quality before it deteriorates – and to redistribute it. This will be done either directly or via non-profit food distribution channels such as Food Forward and SA Harvest. This will take care of the millions of edible food wasted at different points in the supply chain between food production and point of sale to consumers.

Increase the child support grant immediately to the food poverty line of R680, and over the next two years to R1335:

“We have called for this already in our policy on single mothers, which ensures that the grant matches the poverty line. The increase will significantly reduce malnutrition, which has long[1]term negative outcomes on children, such as stunting. It will relieve all impoverished parents, and in particular low-income single mothers who have no help with child support,” she said.

Introduce a maternal support grant:

“We propose that the child support grant be extended backwards so that mothers-to-be receive benefits from 12 weeks of pregnancy instead of from the birth of their child. It has been estimated that the cost to the fiscus would only be an additional R1bn – R1.5bn per annum and yet there would be huge costs and health benefits,” said Marchesi.

Fix the broken food system:

South Africa’s food system is broken. Given the climate breakdown, which is warming Southern Africa at twice the global average, we have no choice but to fix it so that we can meet the food needs of our people.

Redistribute land, and reform agriculture:

Recognising this generational responsibility, a RISE Mzansi government will redistribute land. In line with the Constitution and in consultation with communities, RISE Mzansi will pursue a program of land redistribution. The program will focus on distributing underused rural and peri-urban land to l farmers seeking to expand for the purpose of creating new small and medium-scale farms.

“A RISE Mzansi government will ensure that food sources and supply chains are geared towards meeting the needs of the people of South Africa and creating food equality through partnerships and legislation,” concluded Nomsa Marchesi.


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