Gauteng Smallholder December/ January 2018 - Page 11

#SAFoodCrisis SA’s food crisis in summary T o anybody who has been following our series of articles over the past five months under the #SAFoodCrisis hashtag it should be obvious that South Africa is sitting with an unregulated, unjust train- smash food industry which could very well result in destructive rioting if not dealt with. On the other hand, it should also have become apparent to readers that the issues and problems embod- ied in the food crisis are so great and diverse that no single politician is likely to want to tackle them, beyond issuing reassuring statements about “taking steps to ensure food security,” etc. For those readers, therefore, who may have missed parts of our series here, “samevat- tend”, (as Riaan Cruywagen used to say) is the crisis South Africa is sitting with an unregulated, unjust train-smash food industry which could very well result in destructive rioting if not dealt with. Do our politicians have the stomach for dealing with the crisis? corporates in the food production, distribution and retailing chain have conspired to maximise their profits by pushing off-farm prices down at the production end while outlined. commodities, for example, pushing consumer prices as butter shortages. high as possible at the Starting with the production consumption end. side it is clear from figures Meanwhile, however, available that the commercial government is starting to The food industry is also farming sector is in decline, at introduce the concept of adept at promoting “value- least so far as farmer numbers smallholder farming, settling added” prepared foods under are concerned. A number of previously disadvantaged the guise of convenience ~ factors are driving farmers off families on small parcels of foods that may be laden with the land, including crime, land in the hope that they will unhealthy quantities of drought, insecurity of tenure become productive farmers undesirable ingredients such in the face of possible land and contribute, if not to as trans fat, salt and sugar. claims and, most of all, low national food security, then at While some markets have prices paid for their produce. least to family and regional programmes to encourage food security, through the The decline in commercial small traders and hawkers, production and sale of small farmer numbers is a real the municipal/commercial quantities of a wide variety of market system is designed to threat to national food security ~ the ongoing ability commodities and livestock. benefit buyers by driving of the country to feed its Because the agricultural prices as low as possible, even citizens, and already shortages industry is no longer regulated to the extent of unprofitability and price spikes are being by control boards, subsidies for the producer/farmer. experienced in certain or price control mechanisms, Continued on page 11 9