Speech at the Food Bank partnership launch by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, Mrs Lydia Johnson
15 Mar 2011Programme Director
Food Bank delegation
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
All protocol observed
The issue of food security and transition of our people from subsistence to commercial farmers is of upper most importance to the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Food security remains the key objective of our agricultural activities because we want to create sustainable livelihoods and vibrant economic communities.
This partnership will have a meaningful role in advancing this goal. Today marks the beginning of a great public or private partnership that will benefit scores of our people, most particularly in the impoverished rural communities.
Ladies and gentlemen, a partnership between the KZN Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development and FoodBank (South Africa) is the perfect opportunity to highlight the sterling efforts that have been made to fight poverty and in the mobilisation of our Province’s small scale farmers.
KwaZulu-Natal is spearheading the national initiative which is going to involve three other provinces (i.e. Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape). Spearheaded by the Department’s Food Security Directorate, a Memorandum of Understanding for the Agri-FoodBank will today be signed by both parties to guarantee markets for the farmers at all levels (with special reference to the food security beneficiaries).
FoodBank is a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and has a national footprint of five FoodBank satellites and 11 FoodBank community depots. Bearing in mind their vision to ensure a South Africa without hunger, the department was very excited to enter into an agreement with this entity. This ties up well with the objective of the department which is to collaborate with stakeholders to create the scale necessary to reduce hunger through the redistribution of food and the development of sustainable solutions, while advocating food security.
We welcome the opportunity to promote agricultural growth which will lead to the empowerment of small scale farmers and allow them to participate in more profitable markets.
On 2 December 2010, FoodBank had spent R200 000 purchasing 30 tons of produce from the farmers in the Makhathini and Ndumu area.The produce was composed of 21 tons of butternut, six tons of cabbages and three tons of sweet potatoes. This produce was transported to FoodBank Durban for distribution. Farmers are paid prices according to the Durban market daily pricing strategy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Agri-FoodBank partnership is a unique partnership that will secure quality food and redistribute it to the needy as well as securing sustainable funding for guaranteed off-take agreements.
This initiative will also provide training and technical expertise to facilitate the growth of small scale farmers, while providing permanent agricultural support services to facilitate growing programmes. Farmers will also be assisted to market their produce whilst adding value to some of their products for sale to the guaranteed market, which FoodBank South Africa will identify.
Noting the challenges faced by the small scale farmers, the Agri-FoodBank Partnership will provide adequate financial training, reporting and measuring and evaluation services through the partnership with Technoserve, another world renowned NGO that is participating in this agreement.
Infrastructure, transport and access to production loans for inputs will also be available for the beneficiaries.
Good people, this is a beginning of even greater things to come for the people of KwaZulu-Natal. Watch this space.
Together building a better South Africa!
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture, Enviromental Affairs and Rural Development
15 Mar 2011
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