City puts food on the table

City puts food on the table

The City of Johannesburg will, in partnership with the Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa (SHNSA), celebrate World Food Day on Friday October 16 by launching a nine-month food-parcel distribution programme to feed thousands of vulnerable families in all its regions.

The programme, to be implemented under the theme: “Building Food Sustainability for Vulnerable Children – Eradicating Hunger and Malnutrition for One Child @ A Time”, seeks to ultimately reach more than 100 000 beneficiaries. The initiative is in line with Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau’s vision to ensure that “no one in Johannesburg goes to bed hungry” as there is no justification for it.

The Mayor’s Food Resilience Programme includes turning backyard spaces and dump sites into food gardens and the promotion of small-scale farming. The programme is also one of the City’s top 10 priorities. It is estimated that 42% of the poor in Johannesburg go without a meal for up to three days in a month. That is why the City has made food resilience and agricultural development a top priority.

As from Friday October 16 the City, SHNSA and the South African Social Security Agency {SASSA) will distribute food parcels and vegetables to 38 wards with a total of 30 000 poor and vulnerable families. The food-parcel distribution will take place weekly. 

Nkele Maumakwa, the Acting Executive Head of the City’s Department of Health and Social Development, said the City ultimately aimed to reach 100 000 beneficiaries.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Councillor Nonceba Molwele said the City was committed to eradicating hunger in line with its Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS).

She said it was important for all stakeholders to come together to ensure food security because “the government cannot do it alone”.

“It gives me great pleasure to partner with stakeholders such as SHNSA, which understand and are equally committed to driving this vision,” she said.

The MMC emphasised that the handing out of parcels was a short-term strategy that would be followed by a long-term approach to assist indigent families in establishing their own food gardens so they could sustain themselves. Research has shown that food accounts for 60% of the budget of poor households in Johannesburg.

Maumakwa said to ensure that the beneficiaries embraced a healthy lifestyle, the food parcels would include vegetables such cabbages, onions, carrots, potatoes and butternuts.

“We want to make sure that no one goes to bed hungry. We would like everyone taking part to see this programme becoming a small business,” she said.

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