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Millions need food aid because of high prices, drought

An estimated 3.4-million people across the Eastern Cape are in need of food aid due to high food prices exacerbated by two consecutive years of drought.
Millions need food aid because of high prices, drought
© rustyphil – 123RF.com
About 585,606 of these people are also struggling to purchase enough food to meet a minimum energy intake of 8786-kilojoules as they are living on R498 a month.

This is according to Molatelo Mamadi, a director at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Pretoria.

He was addressing a conference on food security in Africa held at the International Convention Centre in East London on Friday, 4 November.

The three-day conference was attended by pan-African food security experts from Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Sudan, Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. Mamadi said: "We went to Mbizana to profile different households as part of our World Food Day celebrations.

"The poverty there is such that we could not even ask some people in the area if they were hungry because we could see the poverty in their faces," he said.

"We could feel it, they had not eaten in the past three days."

He said the country had not produced enough food for the consumption year ending March 2017 because of the drought.

"Because we don't have enough food in storage we have had to import 3.9-million tons of grain, yellow and white maize from Argentina.

"This has caused food prices to go up because you have to factor in the transportation costs of the product.

"Food is so expensive now that as many as 3.4-million people in the Eastern Cape risk going hungry," Mamadi said.

He said the average household in the province earned as little as R1077 each month.

Another delegate at the conference, Dr Francois Lategan, an agricultural extension specialist practitioner and researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said the value of social grant payouts in the province exceeded the agricultural potential of the Eastern Cape.

Source: Herald


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