Food security will create thriving rural communities and economies.
*KwaMaphumulo* - As water is key to food security, thousands who had gathered to commemorate World Food Day at Sixeni Sportsgroun in KwaMaphumulo on Thursday, were encouraged to practise using water efficiently.
The national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development chose the province of KwaZulu-Natal to host its annual World Food Day event.
The theme for 2023 was “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind” and the objective for the occasion was to raise awareness on the importance of managing water wisely while emboldening families to grow vegetable gardens.
The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, said the national department was in partnership with the Department of Water and Sanitation to create awareness and to educate communities on water conservation.
“We want to work with experts to educate our communities. As farmers, we have to be careful how we use water. By reusing bath, shower and laundry water, we can save our water.”
Minister Didiza encouraged the community of KwaMaphumulo to fight hunger and poverty by picking up their hoes and heading to the fields.
“Our ancestors were never hungry because they used their hands, they went into the sun and worked for us,” said Minister Didiza.
MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Super Zuma, said the Agricultural sector was highly dependent on water and that farmers in the province were facing increasing competition for water from non-agricultural users which affected the quality and quantity of agricultural yields. MEC Zuma said this had a direct effect on food security.
“We have made great strides in the fight against hunger, poverty and inequality through our radical programmes designed to put food on the table. These programmes are also dedicated to realising our goal of returning the economy to the capable hands of our rural communities. We are devoted to our cause and with our One Home One Garden programme, no family will go hungry” said MEC Zuma.
MEC for Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza, highlighted the importance of self-sufficiency and reminded the community of the economic value that is in the soil. MEC Khoza encouraged all to use available land to feed their families.
“We cannot as a community and nation fold our hands when we have land that can produce nutritious food. The government is looking after its people with social grants but we want to see families take the initiative as we cannot entirely depend on social grants. We have to find ways and means to sustain our livelihoods and there is no better way than vegetable gardens. Phambili ngokutshala,” said MEC Khoza.
Dr. Siyabonga Madlala, CEO of the South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA), pledged the associations support to the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development saying their vision of wanting to restore the dignity of the people, was in line with the Department’s goal of wanting to alleviate poverty.
“As the bridge between the government and our communities, we are working towards creating thriving rural communities. Jobs are scarce in our Metros but we can create our own and bring change with our soil therefore, we have to work hard. We are pledging our full support to this Department because of their dedication to change,” said Dr Madlala.