POLOKWANE – The MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nandi Ndalane says the department will continue working together with the private sector to address food production, provision of food to the masses, challenges experienced by farmers as well as suppliers associated with the acquisition of production inputs for agricultural producers as a result of Covid-19.
According to the state of food insecurity and vulnerability report of 2020, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the global and domestic food supply chains were interrupted.
The crop committee bulletin that was released in July 2020, reports that Limpopo has the highest percentage of 37,1% of households that were involved in agricultural activities.
Speaking at the United Nations (UN) Virtual Food Summit Dialogue on Tuesday, Ndalane said when they were confronted by the pandemic in March last year many people resorted to panic about food production.
She stated their actions emanated from a raging false perception that food would run out as people would be quarantined in their homes.
“Today we all know that our province and country proved that perception was false. Food provision was never adversely affected as the production continued unabated. However, we remain confident with the relationship they have with the private sector that they will be able to address such challenges,” Ndalane said.
She pointed out that the provision of food to the masses remains the fundamental responsibility for their existence.
“We are calling on all stakeholders to work with us in building resilience and sustainable food systems for our province and country. Generally people look up to the government and legitimately bestow the responsibility of food provision on us.
“While there is nothing wrong with that outlook, the reality is the government needs the private sector to collectively deliver on this expectation from the masses of our people. We need each other to succeed in sustainably providing food to our people. There is no doubt that our province and country has demonstrated that we have the ability to provide adequate nutritious food to the people.”
She also revealed that the department is working with the private sector in drafting an agricultural master plan which is a blueprint strategy that will build a viable competitive, sustainable and affordable food system to the country.
“The master plan is also addressing the issues of environmental protection to ensure that food is produced in a carbon-low production system to contribute to the country’s Paris Climate Agreement Commitments. We remain hopeful that the master plan will not only provide the road map of our partnership but to also address the many challenges that we are facing in our pursuit to provide sufficient nutritious food to the masses of our people.”