Food security: briefing by Deputy Minister

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AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
27 February 2001
FOOD AND SECURITY

Chairperson: Advocate S P Holomisa

Documents handed out
Presentation by the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs (See Appendix)

SUMMARY
The Department of Agriculture envisages a country where everyone has access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food. They believe that a broad-based and multi-sectoral approach is the best response to food insecurity. The objectives of the Department's activities are to contribute to poverty alleviation through self-help mechanisms. The Department wants to unlock the under utilised economic potential of people to increase their incomes (and thus their purchasing power to buy food). They also want to increase the contribution of agriculture to the SA economy.

In line with the multi-sectoral approach, other departments must support the Agriculture Department. The Department of Labour for example can facilitate basic survival skills development. Partnerships with NGOs are also important.
The Department indicated that Government is ready to compensate the farmers and companies for their role in enhancing the agricultural sector's competitiveness for the benefit of South Africans.

MINUTES
The Chairperson noted that the Minister was unable to attend the meeting. The Deputy Minister, Mr Du Toit was there on her behalf.
Ms L Moahloli, Director of Agriculture, Business and Institutional Development in the Department of Agriculture made the presentation. Ms Ramavenyane (Assistant Director: Food Security in the Department) was also present.

Introduction by Deputy Minister
Under the old South African regime there was a policy of self-sufficiency in SA agriculture. This developed under the sanctions. The policy led to problems in SA agriculture. It created a monoculture where certain farms simply got bigger and bigger.
There is a different concept now. Food security is a basic guideline for agriculture in this country.
Technology has created an abundance of food supply. Example one can simply go to a shopping centre to buy food. However this helps nothing if there is no way to buy the food. There are many South Africans who cannot share in the abundance. There is a lack of purchasing power which causes a lack of food security. This leads to hunger, malnutrition, and vulnerability to disease.
The right to sufficient food and water is a basic right which is enshrined in the Constitution. This is their point of departure. There are constraints to achieving food security. This is not only a South African problem. They have addressed it in the SADC context, it is part of the African context. One of the things required to overcome these restraints is operational integration management to integrate and to co-ordinate the different activities to be done.

Summary of presentation by the Department of Land Affairs
- Food security is defined as ''access by all at all times to adequate safe and nutritious food for a healthy and productive life''.

- Approximately 14 million South Africans are vulnerable to food insecurity. The South African constitution enshrines the right of access by all citizens to sufficient food and water. This states that the State has a primary responsibility to provide the framework within which households and individuals can exercise choices to achieve food security.

- Food security could be achieved through well-targeted programs. The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) provides the strategic framework to provide food security for all. It identifies food as a basic need that should be met.
South Africa is committed to working with SADC member countries to achieve regional food security.

- Current food security programs include the National Food Security Training Programme (FSTP) and the National Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS).
The FSTP is aimed at things such as improving food policy development, management and implementation.
The purpose of the SPFS is to inform the development of the RSA National Food Security Strategy with the objective of streamlining food security programmes within the economy. A specific objective is to improve household food security of the resource-poor in both rural and peri-urban areas.

- Government has adopted an integrated approach to address food security problems at household and national levels. The integrated approach aims to address comprehensive food security issues through linkages with other stakeholders.
Activities include:
- Community based agricultural production projects
- Diversification into other non-farm income generating activities to augment nett incomes
- Growth strategies to move households beyond subsistence over five years
- Capacitating the new groups to produce acceptable quality products through training and mentoring
- Facilitation of managing private agribusiness partnerships between existing agribusiness groups and the new ones.

- In terms of the multi-sectoral approach the Department of Agriculture is supported by other Departments and Institutions. The Health Department is key to indicating nutrition related vulnerability information and the Department of Labour can facilitate basic survival skills development. Public work employment opportunities are important because it augments incomes and improves the purchasing power of food insecure groups. NGOs and CBOs are seen as key in assisting with local development.

In conclusion Ms Moahloli noted that the government is ready to compensate the farmers and companies for their role in enhancing the agricultural sector's competitiveness for the benefit of South Africans. Government will do this by reviewing and supporting ways that reduce transaction costs of all farmers and agribusiness companies. They want strategies that advance all South Africans.

Discussion
Mr Arendse (ANC) commented that those who benefited from the past can assist the poor today to become commercial farmers. He said that they ''cannot look away from history''.
Ms L Moahloli replied that it is true that they cannot run away from history but they are trying to build a non-racial society. There is a group in SA that was advantaged in the past and they have experience in farming. The previous system was based on subisidies. The subsidies are gone. The Department must look at what constraints hinder progress most and then target that in the mainstream. This will require more detailed studies of what can be done. The country must expand and grow together. Everyone must move forward together. The Department is looking for win-win strategies. They want a non-racial winning economy.

Mr Langa (ANC) asked what communication measures were in place to tell people about the schemes and packages that government was offering.
Ms L Moahloli replied that they are proposing national, provincial, and local campaigns. They realise the importance of communicating their projects to the public.

An opposition party member noted that the ideas of partnership and mentoring were good ones and that it would help commercial development. He asked what negotiations were taking place in terms of private partnerships and whether any incentives were offered.
Ms L Moahloli replied that the Department is working with the Agribusiness Chamber and others. Negotiations are still at the preliminary stages. They have realised that the needs of farmers and the government are the same. They are not in conflict with each other. Everybody wants global competitiveness and market efficiency. They are in the process of having meetings and they will have workshops. The roleplayers that they have negotiated with have indicated that even a conditional incentive may be sufficient. Thus there is discussion going on and they are working on it.

Mr Radebe (ANC) referred to the mentoring process noted in the presentation. He commented that it only seemed to be aimed at assisting people on farms. In small towns job prospects are scarce. There is not enough food to eat so people resort to crime. He suggested that the Department must also assist people in towns (through setting up extension offices for example).

An ANC committee member commented that if they did not train people in financial skills and administrative managerial skills then projects would not be viable.
Ms L Moahloli replied that they are talking about partnerships with NGOs and CBOs to teach people skills. They are talking about NGOs facilitating farming skills (such as ploughing) as well as skills outside of agriculture.

The meeting had to be adjourned by half past twelve as the Dutch Prime Minister was to address the House. In conclusion the Chairperson noted that on the tenth and eleventh of March there would be a workshop with the Minister. The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1
FOOD SECURITY ISSUES FOR THE RSA

1. INTRODUCTION

Although South Africa has abundant domestic food supply nationally, a large number of people do not share in this abundance. They suffer from insecurity mainly due to lack of purchasing power. Food security related problems range from hunger, malnutrition, lack of income, and vulnerability to disasters, disease, reduced strength and vitality. Thus food security is closely related to multiple of problems, which touch livelihoods of people in general. To meet these constraints, agricultural production must be matched with strategies such as other income generating activities, nutrition education, and social security and empowerment efforts.

The challenge is therefore to streamline efforts to avoid duplication and release resources to reaching more vulnerable groups. In creating the needed employment opportunities, empowering the vulnerable and enhancing their security towards improved living conditions is not an option.

The analysis above explains the multi-functional character of agriculture in addressing the outlined issues around development issues. This presentation therefore seeks to address and minimise the impact of macro economic policy changes on the resource poor namely., deregulation, privatization of public good/services, infrastructure development and human capital development.

For the purpose of this paper, a question is raised through the implementation constraints faced by the FAO-RSA collaboration on the Special Food Security Programme, to solicit support in addressing some of the problems around the institutionalization of food security issues contributing towards economic development and growth. The paper first gives the scope of activities that the country has been engaged with in raising awareness around food security issues in the areas of policy, design and implementation of appropriate interventions including monitoring and evaluation. Following this background the paper addresses the nature and implementation constraints facing the preparatory phase of the programme.

2. THE FOOD SECURITY POLICY PROCESS:
This is an ongoing process, which culminates in the development of Food Security Policy Statement including an Integrated National Food Security Plan of Action/Strategy. This process addresses the following issues:
2.1 FOOD SECURITY VISION: A country where everyone has access to adequate, safe and nutritious food.
2.2 DEFINITION: Food security is access by all at all times to adequate safe and nutritious food for a healthy and productive life.
2.3 THE SOUTH AFRICAN REALITY IS THAT:
· Approximately 14 million South Africans are vulnerable to food insecurity. Among these, women, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable
· One in four children under the age of six years (some 1.5 million) are stunted due to chronic malnutrition. Deficiencies in micro-nutrients such as vitamin A and iron are also wide spread and have negative consequences for children's growth and development.
· Food Insecurity and Malnutrition are highest in provinces with large rural populations.
· Food Insecurity is highest among the Black populations, but also affects many Coloured households.
· Urban and rural households adopt diverse livelihood strategies to maintain food security, including food production, local employment, migrant labour, and reliance on social security benefits and local support systems.
· Many deficit producers in the former homelands are net consumers of food and are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Urban households exposed to low and unsustainable incomes are equally vulnerable.
· Rapid changes in macro-economic, trade and agricultural production policies to promote growth with equity may have a negative impact over the short to medium term on availability and access to food on particular regions and for particular groups.
· Inappropriate management of drought and other disasters exacerbates food insecurity.
· The South African food security situation is closely correlated with and linked to the Southern African Region.
2.4 THE EXPECTED OUTPUT:
An Integrated Plan of Action covering:
· The Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Mapping System (FIVMS)-
(For monitoring and evaluation).
· The design and implementation of appropriate food security programmes
· Ongoing monitoring and review of the Food Security Policy.
· Streamlining of food security issues within the economy

3. THE STRATEGIC PREMISE FOR FOOD SECURITY INTERVENTIONS
The broad scope of food security calls for a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach. This approach is informed by the following frameworks/policies/processes:
3.1 The SA Constitution:
The right of access by all citizens to sufficient food and water is enshrined in the South African constitution.

This stipulates that the state has a primary responsibility to provide the framework within which households and individuals can exercise choices to achieve food security in a manner that will not jeopardise the security of future generations.

The state must also take appropriate measures to ensure those vulnerable groups, particularly young children and the elderly, are able to meet their food needs. This could be achieved through well targeted programmes.

3.2 The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP)
The RDP provides the strategic framework to achieve food security for all. It identifies food as a basic need that should be met. The framework recognises poverty as a direct consequence of apartheid and the skewed nature of incomes, which accompanied it. It therefore suggests sustainability, productivity, participation, nation building and democratisation as the principles that should guide strategies to tackle poverty.

3.3 The Growth, Equity and Redistribution Strategy (GEAR)
The GEAR strategy forms the macro-economic framework within which a Food Security Policy must be developed for it provides the fiscal, monitory and exchange rate policies required to stabilise the economy. It also purports to enhance international competitiveness, and emphasises employment creation stimulating new investment infrastructure investment and human resource development in key areas.

3.4 Southern African Regional Food Security Strategy:
At regional level, South Africa is committed to working together with the other Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries to achieve regional food security within the regional food security strategy.

4. CURRENT FOOD SECURITY PROGRAMMES:
· The Establishment of FIVMS
· The National Food Security Training Programme (FSTP)
· The National Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS)

4.1 On the FIVMS
In preparation for implementing the system, officials from different stakeholders participated in the SADC High Level Vulnerability Assessment Technical Consultation, in Zimbabwe.
The basic purpose of the consultation was to acquire skills for efficient use of Food Security Information and to improve policy formulation, programming and targeting of interventions.In South Africa the Vulnerability Assessment Unit will be formalised by legislation in April 2001.

4.2 On the FSTP
In strengthening the capacity of public, private and voluntary sector agencies involved in food security related activities the NDA coordinates and facilitates the RSA participation into the SADC-Food Security Training Programme. In particular to:

· Improve food policy development, management and implementation.
· Improve the design and implementation of activities to support household food security and reduce poverty.
· Improve efficiency of operation of food markets and marketing institutions series of food security courses and workshops. This programme involves the development and implementation of training modules to address carefully identified training needs for food security issues.

4.3 Achievements on the FSTP
· 118 officials participated in 10 of the 20 regional food security training workshops and courses.
· 4 RSA Institutions had an opportunity to implement 4 of the SADC- FSTP programmes, namely University of Pretoria, CSIR, University of Fort Hare and University of the North.
· The NDA is in the process of replicating nationally one of the training modules on Food Security Training for Extension Workers.

4.4 On The SPFS
The National Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) for RSA was formulated in collaboration with FAO-UN under the Technical Co-operation Programme (TCP) funding for in-country support for the Implementation of the

World Food Summit Plan of Action (WFSPOA) 1996. (Annexure I)
The purpose of the SPFS is to inform the development of the RSA National Food Security Strategy with the objective of streamlining food security programmes within the economy. This process will culminate into an Integrated Special Programme for Food Security. (Annexure II)

The SPFS has a specific objective to improve household food security of the resource-poor in both rural and peri-urban areas. This will be achieved through the demonstration of appropriate technologies that will increase food production and income of small-scale farmers without compromising the sustainability of the resource base.

The initial phase constitutes a preparatory TCP programme, which will inform, through pilot activities FAO-RSA a larger 2-3 year initiative (Phase I). On expansion (Phase 3) the programme will use the experience learnt from Phase I to roll over the process throughout the country.

The design and sequencing of activities within the SPFS provides a logical, systematic and integrated approach to addressing numerous of development agenda raised in various fora. It provides a practical opportunity:

· to determine and verify the nature and extent basic agricultural support to be rendered as a public good or service.
· to provide the base line data necessary for the establishment of a an effective localized information system for day to day business decisions, monitoring and evaluation and design of appropriate interventions.
· To open up prospects for local industrialisation through the identified backward and forward linkages.
· To capacitate and empower the beneficiaries in managing their development both economically and socially.

The SPFS is targeted at supporting approximately 2000 households with each benefiting in the region of R5000, 00 in the form infrastructure and agric input support.

4.4.1 Progress February-December 2000
With the launch of the SPFS on the 23-24 February 2000, in Pietersburg, Northern Province, the project was set in motion. The following SPFS activities were instituted:
The National Steering Committee was established and it sits bi-monthly.
· Backstopping mission I to the Socio Economic Consultant by, Karen Frenken, the Water Resource Management Officer,based in Harare.
· The Socio-Economic Survey partially implemented in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
· Backstopping mission II for the diversification component of the project by Simon Mack, Senior Animal Production Officer, FAO AGAP
· Supervisory Mission to ascertain the progress of the institutional, organizational and technical arrangements for the Pilot phase, by Mr Turi Fileccia, Agricultural Officer and Programme Co-ordinator, FAO TCIR.
· The appointment of three ARC institutes to develop agricultural enterprise packages relevant to small-scale farmers (beneficiaries of the SPFS) in the following areas, Horticulture, Livestock Development and Irrigation Engineering Support.
· The appointment of the SADC Centre for Communication for Development /Extension in Harare.

4.4.2 Constraints on SPFS Implementation
The SPFS has been temporarily suspended due to resource constraints surrounding governance and treasury restrictions. In the initial stages of the programme there was an in-principle understanding that all participating provinces will reprioritize within their work-plans resources to finance officials participation in the SPFS. It was only in Kwa-Zulu - Natal that a decision was made to implement the preparatory phase of the SPFS using own resources.

The NDA has since made progress in addressing the stalemate through gazetting an amount of R10m per annum for 3 years as conditional grants from the Poverty Alleviation Fund. However this move would not sufficiently provide for the complete execution of the programme. Poverty alleviation funds as per treasury prescripts should be accounted for as funds that accrue directly to the beneficiaries in the form of capital goods, inputs and/ including capacity building.

It still remains therefore a problem for the national and the provincial departments of agriculture together with other collaborating departments and agencies to share resources in terms of administering the programme. The rolling out of the programme over a period of 3 years will cost R5m in salaries including subsistence and travel of participating officials.

It is recommended therefore that the portfolio committee provide support in facilitating and mobilising within Cabinet need for integrated efforts particularly in the resource sharing.

5. CONCLUSION
Food security through the SPFS is seen as a two-fold strategy that aims to strengthen both the beneficiaries and institutions that support them. The programme responds to immediate food needs while providing learning opportunities for sustainable growth.

The SPFS is a national programme that seeks to mobilize local human and financial resources. It is firmly based on farmer participation in order to ensure that activities are of benefit to both the country and the beneficiaries. The programme is thus the responsibility of all levels of governance (the three tiers of government). This calls for the development of an effective mechanism for clear lines of communication, understanding and cooperation to ensure optimum use available resources. It therefore then calls for development and/or use of appropriate instruments within the governance system for smooth rolling out of the programme.

ANNEXURE 1

SUMMARY: FAO/NDA SPECIAL PROGRAMME FOR FOOD SECURITY
& RURAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS
This is a preparatory programme, which will inform a larger joint initiative. The time frame for this "pilot" activity is 6 months, by which time a larger programme will have been developed and approved. The larger programme will use the experience and the activities of the pilot as a starting point.

OBJECTIVES:
To improve household food security of the resource-poor in both rural and peri-urban areas, through the demonstration of appropriate technologies that will increase food production and the income of small farmers without compromising the sustainability of the resource base.

CORE ACTIVITIES:
The SPFS will take place in three provinces - Eastern Cape, KwaZulu/Natal and the Northern Province. Each province shall select a sub-region for the implementation of activities covering:

-Water Control (irrigation and soil & water conservation activities);

-Intensification & Diversification of Agriculture Activities (e.g. small scale irrigation schemes, improved water conservation & gardening, income generation from household poultry, small ruminants & pigs, etc.);

-The implementation of a Rural Information/Communication System in support of food security and rural development (enhancing networking between participating sub-regions, provinces and the NDA, as well as increased access to information through, for example, internet links);

-The necessary profiling, training, implementation of pilot activities and coordinating arrangements to put in place a larger programme (the activities proposed will inform the development and adopting of a larger-scale programme).

-The finalisation of the programme of cooperation for a 3 year period.

SUPPORTING PROCESSES
In order to achieve the objectives of the programme, the FAO is offering a combination of local and international expertise to guide the programme. A key output of this "pilot" or preparatory phase is the development of the necessary skills - both for technical staff and field extension workers - to enable them to assist resource-poor farmers and households to improve their food security. Focus with communities will be on the use of participatory approaches, including PRA/PLA, Participatory Rural Communication Appraisal, Farmer Field Schools and the establishment of the necessary local institutions to drive the project.

SUMMARY: GOVERNMENT'S INTEGRATED APPROACH TO FOOD SECURITY
Government has adopted this broad-based (integrated) approach to address food security problems at both household and national levels in recognition of the multidisciplinary nature of food security problems.

OBJECTIVES
The objectives, which are threefold, are aimed at striking a balance between aggregate supply and consumer equity gains for the poor through linkages with stakeholders concerned with food security. They include

· Contributing to poverty alleviation through self-help mechanisms that build long term self-sustenance of the poor.

· Building in growth strategies that will over 5 years move food insecure households beyond subsistence levels into commercial production as small/medium/large producers.

· Unlocking underutilized economic potential of the majority of our people to increase production, incomes as well as the contribution of agriculture to our economy.

EXTENDED ACTIVITIES
The integrated approach aims to address comprehensive food security issues through linkages with other stakeholders as indicated in annexure 11. Core activities include:

1.Joint national/provincial campaigns which will:
· Promote self-sustaining ways for food security by all South Africans.
· Enhance mutual support for all concerned by streamlining efforts to avoid duplication and minimized resource wastage.

2.Promotion of home/backyard gardens (pot growing) to improve household food intake for nutrition and good health specifically for the urban poor. Such initiatives will cover :
· Home gardens with water collection and innovative preserving ways.
· Adapted technology will range from watering cans to simple drip irrigations, hydroponics and others.
· Intensification of production through natural ways that enhance natural resources.
2.1 Linking Home Gardens with Social Security to augment net incomes of the poor. This effort is another way of promoting nutrition and good health. All grant receiving households may be encouraged to establish home vegetables/herb gardens (pots) to supplement family diets. Promotional Packages can be targeted at social security grants pay points.

3.Group/community based agricultural production projects will be targeted for peri-urban and rural food insecure and vulnerable groups.

4..Diversification into other non-farm income generating activities (such as public works employment opportunities, SMMEs and others) to augment net incomes.

5.Growth strategies to move households beyond subsistence over 5 years. Such strategies will consist of :

-Basic organisational skills development through local NGOs/CBOs.
-Strengthening local developing NGOs in coordination with National Development Agency.
-Opening of local and export markets for the previously disadvantaged groups by expanding existing agribusiness's' (Production through to processing and consumption) capacity. It involves among others efforts towards taking advantage of large potential export markets through:

(1).allocating acceptable market shares to previously marginalised groups at all levels at the production value chains.

(2)Capacitating the new groups to produce acceptable quality products through training and mentoring.

(3).Compensation for training and mentoring by Government.

(4)Incentive schemes to ensure immediate payment to new farmers as well as guarding against unforeseen disasters to production.

(5)Increased effort by Government to reach Government to Government agreements on Agricultural trade in Africa and the rest of the world.

(6)Use Government tools to ensure competitiveness of agribusiness as a whole.

(7)Facilitation of managing private agribusiness partnerships between existing agribusiness groups and the new ones.

(8)Graduated grant scheme for supporting production of previously disadvantaged farmers over 5 years into commercial production. The scheme will be targeted at groups with the aim of increasing representation of a large number of households with limited resources. The scheme will include the following:

-Initial full grant of R3 000 per beneficiary in a group of 10 to 12 people for the establishment of viable agricultural production projects.
-Conditional home gardens for individual members' family consumption needs.
-Technical and business support.
-Savings drive for expansion of production projects.
-Expansion strategies into semi-formal production after 2½ to 3 years of production.
-Partial grant supported by groups business savings for expansion after 3 to 5 years.
-Integration of potential groups into formal commodity groups during the same period.
-At the end of 5 years groups should be fully integrated into commercial production as either small/medium/large producers according to individual group capacity and circumstances.

SUPPORTIVE PROCESSES
· Local Development authorities are seen as key for sustainable results because particular progress in specific localities depend on their unconditional support. These include:

-Local development government offices
-Social development forums
-Local development NGOs/CBOs
-Communities themselves support production initiatives in their areas

· Health department is key to indicating nutrition related vulnerability information (disease outbreak impacts, nutritional deficiencies/rehabilitation needs) to guide provincial agricultural production in specific localities.

· Department of Labour is key in facilitating basic survival skills development.

Public work employment opportunities, especially in the rural development strategy are key to augmenting incomes and improving the purchasing power of food insecure and vulnerable groups.

Social Development is seen as key to temporarily empowering the vulnerable food insecure households to meet their immediate needs while self sustaining mechanizing are put in place to totally free our people from continued dependency solely handouts. Child support is critical to building a strong future nation. Agriculture addresses this through household support and its female farmer support programme.

Private farmers and agribusiness companies are crucial partners in ensuring resource poor households are empowered in opening market opportunities.
-capacitating them to reach and maintain quality
-improving the competitiveness and contribution of the agricultural sector to the economy.

The government is ready to compensate the farmers and companies for their role in enhancing the agricultural sector's competitiveness for the benefit of South Africans. In this regard Government will review and support ways that reduce transaction costs of all farmers and agribusiness companies who will join hands with Government to achieve our joint objective of a globally competitive agricultural sector, fulfilling our country's role to African continent and the worlds at large. The opposition is invited to join hands in our endeavour to build a thriving and non racial South Africa based on win- win strategies that result in mutual advancement of al South Africans. Such strategies are to be based on reinforcing diverse South African groups' limitations to unlock the best potential of all concerned, towards a winning agricultural sector.

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