ATC170406: Report on the Joint Workshop on Food Security and Food Safety by the PC on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, PC on Health and the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Report on the Joint Workshop on Food Security and Food Safety by the PC on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, PC on Health and the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources
 

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Portfolio Committee on Health and the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources, having participated in a Joint Workshop on Food Security and Food Safety, which was held in Parliament on 02 – 03 February 2016 report as follows:

 

1.         TERMS OF REFERENCE

 

  1. Background

Food security is a Constitutional right that is enshrined in Section 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The Constitution further states that “the state must take reasonable measures through legislation and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to sufficient food.” Food security was defined in the 1996 World Food Summit that took place in Rome as existing “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” This is a widely accepted definition that points to the following dimensions of food security: Food availability, food access, utilisation and stability.

To address food insecurity, an integrated approach to ensuring delivery of food security programmes has been pursued through the implementation of the Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Programme, which was informed by the Integrated Food Security Strategy. In 2013, Cabinet approved the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security Policy (NPFNS) whose main goal is to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of safe and nutritious food at national and household levels. Despite South Africa being food secure at the national level, in 2014, an estimated 13.8 million individuals were reported to be food insecure in South Africa.

The Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014-19 mandates various Departments to ensure that by 2019, at least 4.3 million of the 13.8 million individuals are food secure. Food security is a crosscutting matter that is encompassed in Government’s Outcome 7, whose Sub-outcome 3 is improved food security. Improved food security is one of the six policy imperatives of the National Development Plan (NDP). Recognising that effective implementation of the NPFNS hinges on appropriate governance and management arrangements; and the importance of implementing the food and nutrition security programmes and plans, Government assigned particular Ministries to co-lead its commitment areas e.g. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Social Development; Rural Development and Land Reform; Health and Basic Education.

 

In addition to food security, food safety is also a key area of focus within the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security (NPFNS), whose implementation requires an integrated approach and strengthened intergovernmental relations. Food safety came under public spotlight in recent years due to outbreaks of diseases that are derived from plant and animal-based products either through consumption or contact, especially with animals (for example, avian influenza, swine fever, mad cow disease, etc.). Most recently, in 2013, food safety came under spotlight again following media reports on unlawful ingredients and/or meat variants in meat products and mislabelling of meat products. Food safety discussions also include brine injection in poultry and the use and availability of genetically-modified (GM) food products in South Africa.

During the Fourth Parliament, the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Health (DoH) and Trade and Industry (the dti) were tasked by the joint parliamentary Portfolio Committees overseeing the respective sectors to work collaboratively in developing an integrated food safety framework for the country as opposed to the different pieces of legislation under different Departments that all deal with food safety. In this regard, the relevant Ministers approved the establishment of the Inter-departmental Food Safety Coordinating Committee (IDFSCC), which has since formed a Technical Working Group that was working on the establishment of a Food Safety Agency for the country. The IDFSCC constitute the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Health and Trade and Industry, as well as the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS).

It is for some of the reasons stated above that the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries decided to hold a Joint Workshop on Food Security and Food Safety with other Parliamentary Committees (from both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces) that oversee Departments that play a role in ensuring food security and food safety in the country, including Members of Provincial Legislatures and representatives of District Municipalities.

In preparation for the Workshop, on 03 November 2015, the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries undertook an oversight visit to Astral Chicken Processing Plant in the Western Cape to enquire about brining of chicken.

  1. Objectives of the Workshop

The objectives of the Workshop were for the Parliament Committees to engage with subject experts and Government departments and agencies to:

 

  • Determine the status and socio-economic aspects of food security in the country, the drivers of food insecurity;
  • Understand the technical aspects, the legislative and regulatory framework in terms of food safety;
  • Determine the  respective roles of different Government departments and/or agencies in improving food security and food safety in South Africa; and to understand the policy and legislative framework;
  • Determine progress and identify challenges in the implementation of Sub-outcome 3 (food security) of Government’s National Outcome 7, which mandates the implementation of the comprehensive Food and Nutrition Security Policy and development for production, of under-utilised land in communal areas and land reform projects;
  • Determine progress of the Interdepartmental Food Safety Coordination Committee in establishing a Food Safety Agency for the country;
  • Identify duplicative and complementary roles in the implementation of food security programmes and food safety measures amongst Government departments; and
  • Propose a way forward in effectively addressing food insecurity and to ensure improved food safety in South Africa.

 

2.         WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS

 

Day 1: 02 February 2016 (Food Security)

2.1 Contextualisation of Food Security: Prof Sheryl Hendriks (University of Pretoria)

The presentation started off by highlighting the right to sufficient food that is enshrined in Section 27 of the Constitution; and further defined and described food security, which is associated with a continuum of experiences. She emphasised that the right to food puts an obligation to both the state and citizens. Food insecurity was described as a  form of deprivation that is rooted in economic, social, environmental and political failures. Prof Hendriks identified poverty, unemployment, malnutrition and poor health as some of the drivers of food insecurity in individuals and households. Nationally, the drivers of food insecurity were identified as crises (e.g. transportation costs), poor economic growth (e.g. inflation) and poor coordination and duplication of programmes.

 

She reported that there are approximately more than 60 different programmes in the country that are meant to improve food security. Prof Hendriks emphasised that overcoming food insecurity and improving nutrition requires focused and prioritised comprehensive policies, legislation, programmes, service delivery and monitoring, which should all be directed at an impact scale (made examples of food security intervention programmes in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Brazil and China). She contended that this requires a common vision and results-oriented action plans, policy coherence including a harmonised regulatory system of policies, legislation and approaches.

 

Prof Hendriks further emphasised the need for the following:

  1. A coordinating structure/body to provide appropriate leadership and authority to reduce duplication and ensure efficient use of constrained resources.
  2. Clarity on roles and responsibilities for accountability and quality assurance in delivery.
  3. A comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework and set of agreed upon indicators to determine if all the activities are making an impact.
  4. A single information system to provide comprehensive data for decision making.
  5. Improved implementation and human capacity at all levels (especially with regards to community-based interventions and inter-sectoral coordination).
  6. Increased coverage with regards to agricultural programmes, nutrition and social services so that the most needy can access essential services and support – she highlighted that poorer households are more sensitive to food price increases, which is likely to be the case with the current drought.
  7. Recognising that undernutrition (e.g. wasting that is caused by extreme hunger) is not the only nutrition challenge in the country, but overnutrition (eating too much of the wrong food types) is a huge challenge that manifests itself through the increasing number of overweight children and adults. The latter leads to non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which put a further strain on health and social services. 

 

Prof Hendriks also highlighted the need for an obligation to Municipalities, which is premised in Section 153 (a) and (b) of the Constitution but is currently lacking in food security interventions. She also mentioned the need for a coordinated Action Plan that recognises that food insecurity and the resultant malnutrition are multifaceted; and further highlighted that there is not enough data on food insecurity in urban and semi-urban areas.

 

2.2 Evaluation of Nutrition Interventions for Children under 5 and Progress on the

Development of the National Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Plan for

South Africa: Mr Thulani Masilela (DPME)

 

2.2.1 Report on Diagnostic/Implementation Evaluation of Nutrition Interventions for Children under 5

Mr Masilela reported on the findings and recommendations of the commissioned

Report on Diagnostic/Implementation Evaluation of Nutrition Interventions for children

under 5, which was completed in 2014. The report was commissioned by DPME and the Departments of Health (DOH), Social Development (DSD) and Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). The study was conducted in 8 districts (a mix of high-performing and poor-performing districts) across 4 provinces, namely, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Western Cape.   

 

The report found that South Africa has been focusing more on food production with little emphasis on nutrition or consumption of nutritious food. The country has a good mix of health and nutrition policies which should address underlying factors associated with poor nutrition but nutrition programmes have not been effective in reducing malnutrition as the focus is primarily on food provision to the needy and do not address underlying causes of malnutrition. Underlying causes of malnutrition were highlighted as:

  • Poor household access to food;
  • Inadequate maternal and child care;
  • Illness;
  • Poor access to health services; and
  • Limited access to clean water and sanitation.

 

The study also involved comparison of South Africa with 5 other developing countries (viz. Malawi, Mozambique, Malaysia, Brazil and Colombia) that have successfully improved their nutrition performance through nutrition interventions. Compared to the 5 countries, it was found that South Africa does not (yet) have:

  1. A single or coherent strategy, policy or regulatory system to realise the right to food as mandated by the Constitution.
  2. A coordinating body above line ministries that can hold them accountable in terms of contribution to nutrition security.
  3. One national leadership and governance structure for food security and nutrition such (e.g. SANAC for HIV).
  4. One comprehensive, integrated National Food and Nutrition Security Plan.
  5. One budget for food and nutrition security.
  6. One monitoring and evaluation (M & E) framework.
  7. One set of indicators.
  8. One set of coherent Food and Nutrition Security legislation.

 

An evaluation of 18 indicators for high impact nutrition interventions showed that South Africa was doing relatively well for 50% of the indicators, which were mostly clinical interventions from the Health sector and early childhood development (ECD). The remaining indicators scored poorly, which were mainly Health sector behavioural change interventions, food access and agricultural interventions.  Nutrition was found to be better mainstreamed in the Health sector when it was part of clinical health services compared to behavioural changes services such as counselling.  Leadership for nutrition was found to be more visible in the Health sector at all levels than in other sectors. All departments have staff shortages and lack nutrition-trained personnel (except KZN). Community workers can make a significant contribution but support, oversight and monitoring by nutrition-trained professionals is crucial. KZN’s Operation Sukuma Sakhe was hailed as a good model for integrated service delivery, including nutrition interventions. The study found that there were no policies that govern inappropriate marketing of unhealthy food to children – but the DOH has now compiled a list of such food items.

 

The recommendations from the Nutrition Evaluation study include inter alia:

  1. Elevation of Nutrition for under 5s to the level of an output of Outcome 2 on Health
  2. Developing a well-defined Nutrition Plan and as part of the Plan, develop common indicators for tracking food and nutrition across all sectors.
  3. Ensuring stronger coordination between individual line ministries responsible for implementation of nutrition interventions.
  4. Establishing a National Nutrition Council.
  5. Ensuring services and communication focus more on promotion and prevention.
  6. Improving training, knowledge and skills of health, agriculture and social development employees (including ECD Managers)
  7. Reducing frequent stock outs for food supplements.
  8. DSD and War on Poverty unit in DRDLR to establish at Provincial level, case management approach based on household vulnerability and determinants of malnutrition.

 

The findings and recommendations of the Evaluation study were presented to Cabinet Committee in March 2015, which noted these and also made further recommendations particularly on the development of the National Nutrition Plan and what it should entail. The Cabinet accepted the Cabinet Committee recommendations on 15 April 2015 and approved that the National Treasury and DPME expedite expenditure review to assess resource allocation for nutrition programmes; the Departments of Science and Technology (DST) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) should collaborate on research activities for new and effective nutritional supplements; and the DOH should submit a comprehensive Nutrition Improvement Plan which addresses the recommendations and include phases of implementation to the Social Protection, Community and Human Development (SPCHD), Cabinet Committee.

 

2.2.2 Progress on the Development of the Integrated National Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan for South Africa

Mr Masilela reported that under the leadership of the Office of the Deputy President, an Intergovernmental Technical Working Group was constituted in 2014 to develop a National Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan (NFNSIP) for South Africa. The Draft NFNSIP comprehensively incorporates the Cabinet directives, findings of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Nutrition Interventions for Children under 5 and ensure synergies between the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security (NPFNS), Fetsa Tlala and the Household Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (HFNS).  The vision and mission of the Plan is to significantly improve food security and reduce malnutrition in all its forms, to afford South Africans opportunities to lead productive and healthy lives.

 

The Intergovernmental Working Group consists of various Departments, namely, Office of the Deputy President, DPME, DAFF, DOH, DSD, DRDLR, Basic Education, COGTA, Water and Sanitation, National Treasury, Women in the Presidency and Statistics South Africa. It also includes social partners in UN agencies (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)) and the NGO, Family Health International (FHI) 360.

 

Mr Masilela reported that the Working Group has initiated and will continue consultations with key stakeholders such as Provincial Government Departments, Statutory Science and other Councils, UN structures, developing farmer organisations, non-profit organisations, and academic institutions (North West, Pretoria and UNISA). He added that the Working Group will be having further consultations on the NFNSIP with Provinces about the interventions proposed in the Plan and appropriate targeting of the areas of greatest need; consultation with external stakeholders; refinement and costing of the NFNSIP; tabling of the Plan before the Executive; incorporation of directives from the Executive and finalisation and implementation of the Plan.

 

Mr Masilela highlighted that DPME, which is working closely with the National Treasury, will not be involved in the implementation of the Plan but will provide the tools for the establishment and monitoring of the Plan; and will monitor and evaluate its implementation.

 

  1. The Role and Responsibilities of Departments in the Implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security

 

2.3.1 The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)

Mr Msomi highlighted that approximately 14.1 million (26%) people in South Africa are predisposed to hunger and malnutrition, a figure that was further broken down by province. KZN has the highest number of people with inadequate access to food (3.48 million, which is 33% of the population of that province). It is followed by the Eastern Cape (2.23 million – 33.6% of population) and Gauteng (2 million – 15.8% of its 13 million population). North West, which has the fifth highest number of food insecure people after Western Cape, has the highest proportion i.e.  43.7% of that Province’s population is food insecure.

 

Some of the reasons that were cited for food insecurity include high food prices, decline in local food production, rising inputs costs, disinvestment in agriculture, market concentration (80% of food produced by approximately 100 farming entities), infrastructure, competing land uses and climate change. Mr Msomi highlighted that the role and contribution of DAFF in food security is food availability, food access and stability of supply, which includes inter alia the implementation of the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP), implementation of SIP11 and facilitation of support from relevant UN agencies. He also showed a schematic presentation of the proposed institutional arrangements through the activities that are facilitated by the Office of the Deputy President including each Government Department’s role in the implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security (NPFNS) through the NFNS Implementation Plan as reported by Mr Masilela from DPME.

 

Mr Msomi also highlighted the six provinces that have been declared as drought disaster areas. He also presented the Food and Nutrition Security Drought Response Plan that highlighted interventions by DAFF and DSD to assist communities and farmers affected by drought. In this regard, both Departments have set aside funding to provide assistance on specific food production and nutrition programmes from January to September 2016. He further highlighted that DAFF is also collaborating with other Social Cluster Departments on the Food and Nutrition Insecurity Task Team for the country’s Drought Response Plan.

 

  1. The Department of Social Development (DSD)

 

The Deputy Director -General (DDG) for Integrated Development from DSD, Mr Peter Netshipale made the presentation. In his background, Mr Netshipale highlighted that DSD plays a key role in the Household Food and nutrition Strategy that was approved by Cabinet in 2013 along with the NPFNS. He mentioned that some of DSD’s deliverable amongst others, are to ensure that the poor and vulnerable members of society have access to food, ensure proper feeding of children in Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) and establish a robust network of Food Distribution Centres (FDCs). DSD, therefore, also forms part of the Inter-departmental Committee for the implementation of the NFNS Plan that is led by DPME. Mr Netshipale further provided an overview of historical and latest data on household poverty and proportions of people with inadequate access to food.

 

The following were listed as DSD’s Food and Nutrition Security interventions:

  • Social Relief of Distress (SRD)
  • Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs)
  • Early Childhood Development (ECD)
  • Drop-in Centres and Old-age Homes
  • Social grants
  • Household Gardens (National Development Agency funding non-profit organisations)

 

With the exception of social grants, the CNDCs and ECDs had the highest numbers of beneficiaries; and the ECD interventions play a very crucial role in child nutrition. It was reported that in terms of Food Distribution Centres (FDCs), for the first three quarters of the year, the Western Cape had the highest number of beneficiaries that were supported (277 400) followed by Free State (270 320) and Mpumalanga (220 638) out of the total of 1.9 million beneficiaries. However, in terms of work opportunities created through CNDCs, KwaZulu-Natal created most opportunities (154) and was followed by Free State with 136 opportunities.

 

Mr Netshipale highlighted that feeding of beneficiaries at CNDCs is linked with skills training and development through income generating projects and cooperatives. All cooks are provided with accredited training on food safety, preparation and hygiene. He reported that the implementing agents for CNDCs are mandated to source all possible items from local cooperatives.

 

Some of the challenges that Mr Netshipale highlighted include poor infrastructure for ECD and CNDCs in the targeted deprived communities; capacity of emergent food producers and cooperatives to supply CNDCs consistently; and lack of integration (i.e. linkage with other Government departments’ interventions).

 

  1. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) on its role and responsibility in the Implementation of Sub-outcome 3 of Outcome 7: Improved Food Security

The presentation by Mr Hilton Tuolo, Chief Director for Policy from DRDLR, was halted and could not take place as Mr Tuolo presented a new presentation that was different to the presentation that Members had, which was distributed that morning. It was resolved that DRDLR should ensure that a correct version of the presentation is made available to Members the following day, Wednesday, 03 February 2016. Eventually, the DRDLR did not make a presentation at the Workshop.

 

Day 2: 03 February 2016 (Food Safety)

 

  1. Recap Presentation on Issues raised on Food Security

The Outcome Facilitator for Outcome 2 from DPME, Mr Thulani Masilela presented a summary of issues that were raised by Members of the Committees on Day 1 of the Workshop, and further confirmed that most resonated with the issues that are raised in the Nutrition Evaluation Report for Children Under 5.  He presented a Framework for the Draft National Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan (NFNSIP) that has been devised jointly by the Departments to address food security challenges in the country, under the leadership of the Office of the Deputy President. He reported that the Plan is anchored on seven Priorities and includes other Departments that are not necessarily part of the Workshop including Statistics South Africa.

 

Mr Masilela also reported that an economic model to address food security has not yet been done systematically but a 2014/15 Cornerstone Report that was commissioned by the National Treasury found that there is a R2 billion deficit for addressing food and nutrition security challenges in the country. Some of the highlighted priorities are the radical review of existing food security programmes to create a single National Agricultural Support Programme for the country; expanding targeted social protection measures and sustainable livelihood programmes and establishment of a multisectoral Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) Council to oversee alignment of policies, legislation and programmes, coordination and implementation of programmes and services which address FNS.

 

  1.  Food Safety “the Orphan Child”: Prof Lise Korsten (University of Pretoria)

Professor Lise Korsten, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the University of Pretoria, introduced the topic with a definition, background and overview of Food Control, which encompasses Food Safety. She contended that food safety is a shared responsibility.  She showed schematic presentations of the various pieces of legislation from different Departments that are all responsible for certain aspects of the country’s Food Control system including regulations. Prof Korsten acknowledged the need and commended Government for the decision to establish a single Food Control Agency, which is a route that is being taken internationally.

 

She further emphasised the need for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Food Safety to ensure the development and strengthening of the subject/profession. She highlighted that most academic work on food safety is done internationally in Europe (Wageningen in Netherlands) and the USA (Washington, DC). Locally, it is mostly done at the University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town. She mentioned that universities are struggling to get student to do post-graduate studies on food safety and the industry is not providing bursaries for students to study biotechnology to ensure that pesticides and other chemicals are developed and tested locally.   

 

Prof Korsten mentioned that South Africa has systems in place to ensure food safety and the solution to some of the challenges is not to test more but effective implementation and consolidation of existing systems. She highlighted that one of the main challenges is effective management of the cold chain – food handling after point-of-sale, up to consumption. She also raised a concern on border control particularly for food products or fresh produce that comes to the country illegally. She mentioned that in the absence of stringent enforcement, some industries have implemented their own self-regulatory mechanisms. Prof Korsten also raised a concern on the role of mining on agricultural production (water pollution and soil degradation) and consequently, the quality of food produced in mining or previously mined areas.

 

  1. The Roles and responsibilities of Departments in Food Safety Regulation: Joint presentation involving DAFF, DOH and the dti (NRCS & NCC)

 

The General Manager from the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) in the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Ms NM Katz, gave an overview on the roles and responsibilities of each Department on food control (which includes safety, administration and regulation) in the country.

 

She highlighted that DAFF through the activities of the Department and the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), is responsible for export of agricultural products, registration of pesticides and stock remedies, meat hygiene and export and import of fresh meat, and the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) Enquiry Point.

 

DOH is responsible for import, manufacture, sale and export of processed products, food safety registrations, nutritional labelling, CODEX (International Code for Food Standards) Contact Point, International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) Emergency Contact Point and Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Contact Point. The latter three Contact Points are notification systems.

 

The dti, through the NRCS and the National Consumer Commission (NCC), is responsible for canned and frozen fish and fish products, fresh seafood, canned meat products, imports and certification of exports and technical barriers to trade (TBT) Enquiry Point (through the South African Bureau of Standards – SABS).

 

Ms Katz also presented the different pieces of legislation under each Department some of which are outdated and have been through numerous amendments (e.g. Act No. 36 of 1947 (DAFF) and Act No. 54 of 1972 (DOH)). She also highlighted the challenges encountered in enforcing legislative mandates for concurrent competencies in the case of Health and Agriculture. 

 

During discussions, the Commissioner of the National Consumer Commission (NCC), Mr Ebrahim Mohamed, reported that the NCC conducts Consumer Awareness campaigns but its activities are constrained by the budget. DAFF reported that the country has capacity to manage ports of entry but the activities are not at the level at which Government would like it to be. There are concerns regarding local production and control measures. It was further reported that the established Border Management Agency is also looking at illicit trade, a matter that was not effectively addressed before. 

 

  1. Progress Report on the Interdepartmental Food Safety Coordination Committee and the Establishment of a Food Safety Agency in South Africa

 

The Deputy Director-General for Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety from DAFF, Mr M Ramasodi presented a progress report on the Interdepartmental Food Safety Coordination Committee and the establishment of a Food Control/Safety Agency. Mr Ramasodi mentioned that the safety of food of agricultural origin is a major and important component of food security and is a shared responsibility with complex interconnectivity between regulatory departments in South Africa. He further mentioned that the aim of the presentation was to provide the Committees with a report on some of the actions that have been taken since the last update and some challenges experienced thus far. One of the main challenges that the Inter-Departmental Committee is still grappling with is insufficient specialised legal services (food law) to support officials regarding instant legal enforcement. 

 

The following are some of the areas of progress reported:

  • An existing Draft National Food Safety Policy;
  • A Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) Research Chair within the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been approved and its funding confirmed (target implementation date is Second Quarter of 2016);
  • An independent meat inspection has been approved;
  • Port Health has been moved from provinces to DOH;
  • DOH published Norms and Standards for harmonisation of Food Inspector Training in December 2015 – will meet with academic institutions in February 2016 to strengthen food safety curriculum; and
  • A Food Legislation Advisory Group has been established.

 

Mr Ramasodi also mentioned that the Agricultural Research Council (ARC)’s Biotechnology Laboratory (Pretoria and Cape Town) has been commissioned to conduct research on animal species DNA tracing, which is very crucial in identifying species contamination in normal production processes.

 

  1.       COMMITTEES’ DELIBERATIONS AND DISCUSSIONS

 

Over the two-day period, the Committees’ Members deliberated and held discussions on the following matters:  

 

Food Security:

 

  1. The Committees welcomed and commended the new integrated and interdepartmental approach to address food security challenges that is headed by the Office of the Deputy President. The Committees noted that coordination of activities from national, provincial and local government still a very critical challenge that also impacts on the efficiency with which available resources are used to address food and nutrition insecurity. Members raised concerns on the varying statistics and dates that were cited by the different Departments that are supposed to be working together.

 

  1. The presentation by DAFF, and to some extent, DSD, did not meet the Committees’ expectations as outlined in the Workshop objectives. Members were expecting detailed and integrated analyses of the Departments’ food security interventions, identification of gaps and challenges and to outline interventions to address challenges notwithstanding the intervention by the Office of the Deputy President. It was observed that departmental presentations lacked integration and did not articulate institutional model (intervention strategy) to effectively and efficiently address food insecurity given the identified challenges. An Economic Model to address food insecurity that will also take into account the impact of the current drought on food security was proposed.

 

  1. The Committees recommended that all the Departments that are involved in food security interventions such as DPME, DAFF, DSD and DRDLR, led by DPME, should present to the Workshop the following day, Wednesday, 03 February 2016, a comprehensive summary response to all the issues that have been raised in the first day of the Workshop (i.e. food and nutrition security) particularly on lack of coordination.

The Departments subsequently presented the following day, an integrated proposed Framework on how they will be working together to address food security, based on the Draft National Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan (NFNSIP) under the guidance of the Office of the Deputy President.  Committees commended the Departments for the Framework that was developed and observed that the NFNSIP is still in a consultation process and not yet tabled to Cabinet. Therefore, the relevant Committees need to monitor the process.

 

  1. DAFF and DRDLR were also expected to provide an analysis of the impact of the drought relief efforts that have been implemented in 2015 when the drought started. The need for an assessment of the drought on food prices, vulnerable households and farmers was highlighted.  

 

  1. The need for strengthening and coordination of nutrition programmes to address malnutrition (stunting and wasting) in children and appointment of nutritionists (not dieticians) in these programmes.

 

  1. There need for enquiry into the quality of food that is provided to school children through the school feeding schemes and in ECD Centres.

 

  1. The need for an awareness campaign to educate the general public about food and nutrition security and the importance of food production particularly at the household level.
  2. Departmental presentations did not articulate institutional model (intervention strategy) to effectively and efficiently address food insecurity given the identified challenges. An Economic Model to address food insecurity that will also take into account the impact of the current drought on food security was proposed.

 

Food Safety:

 

  1. Relevant capacity building is not provided to Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) in Municipalities by DOH to ensure the inspection of retailers and effective waste management, which is a primary responsibility of Municipalities.

 

  1. Highlighted the need for aggressive surveillance of disposal of medical waste, which is the responsibility of the Department of Environmental Affairs. The main concern being the proximity of hospital kitchens to storage areas for medical waste.

 

  1. Enquiry into the relationship between the Departments and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) to which DAFF and DOH responded that they are working closely with the NICD through the One Health Forum.

 

  • Lack of resources for enforcement of food control measures, which has an impact on food control inspections particularly of big retailers and those in remote areas as EHPs were not sufficient.

 

  1. Need for accreditation of more laboratories to carry out food testing; and enforcement of traceability of food products to strengthen food safety standards.
  2. Lack of compliance in terms of labelling legislation; and a need for clear thresholds that will allow Government to prosecute transgressors in terms of cross-contamination (e.g. the meat scandal).

 

  • Emphasised the need for consumer awareness and education including re-introduction of Home Economics as a school subject; and proper labelling of food products.

 

  1. Concern with the storage and handling of food for the School Nutrition Programme.

 

  1. Research into use of unregistered pesticides and impact on health and consumption of food that has been exposed to pesticides.

 

  1. Emphasised the strengthening of intergovernmental collaboration to curb the overlap of departments’ services and to ensure efficient use of resources.

 

  1. Water and environmental issues need to be considered when dealing with Food Security and Food Safety. Therefore, the Departments of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) need to be part of future discussions.

 

4.         WORKSHOP RECOMMENDATIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

Following discussions and deliberations on food security and food safety over the two days of the Workshop, the Committees made the following recommendations and resolutions:

 

  1.  Joint follow-up meeting within 3 months with the Departments of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Basic Education; Social Development; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Health; National Treasury; Rural Development and Land Reform; Statistics South Africa;  Water and Sanitation; and Women to report on progress with the National Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan towards ensuring coherent leadership, policy development, strategy development and implementation and regulatory systems. The follow-up meeting on Food Security and Food Safety needs to be arranged with all the political heads of the relevant Departments to ensure that the work of the Joint Portfolio Committees aligns with Cabinet directives on Food Security and Safety. 

 

  1.  The Food Control Agency that is being established should ensure that all three spheres of Government work jointly towards improving the state’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to food safety problems.    

 

  1.  An invitation should be extended to other Portfolio and relevant Select Committees, as well as Provinces and Municipalities in all future discussions on Food Security and Food Safety.  

 

  1.  In the next meeting on food safety, major franchises and retailers should be invited as identification of gaps in the legislative framework, enforcement and dissemination of information is very crucial.

 

  1.  The Intergovernmental Working Group should extend invitations for a colloquium on food safety to major franchises and retailers to further ensure inclusivity in addressing food safety in South Africa.

 

Report to be considered.

 

 

 

 

ANNEXURE A:  WORKSHOP ATTENDANCE LIST

 

MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

 

  Committee

 

Political Party

02 February 2016

03 February 2016

PC on Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries

 

 

 

 

 

African National Congress (ANC)

Semenya, Ms MR

Maxegwana, Mr CHM

Mandela, Mr ZMD

Tongwane, Ms TMA

 Masehela, Ms M (Visiting)

 

Semenya, Ms MR

Maxegwana, Mr CHM

Mandela, Mr ZMD

Masehela, Ms M (Visiting)

Democratic Alliance (DA)

Jongbloed, Ms Z

Steyn, Mrs A

 

 

Jongbloed, Ms Z

Steyn, Mrs A

 

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)

 

 

Paulsen, Mr M

 

African Independent Congress (AIC)

 

Ntshayisa, Mr LM

 

Ntshayisa, Mr LM

 

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)

 

 

 

Cebekhulu, Mr R*

PC on Health

ANC

Dunjwa, Ms ML

Maesela, Dr P

 

Dunjwa, Ms ML

Maesela, Dr P

 

DA

James, Dr WG

James, Ms LV*

 

James, Dr WG

James, Ms LV*

 

National Freedom Party (NFP)

 

Shaik Emam, Mr AM

 

Shaik Emam, Mr AM

 

AIC

Jafta, Mr SM

 

Jafta, Mr SM

 

SC on Land & Mineral Resources

ANC

Sefako, Mr OJ

Prins, Ms E

Mlambo, Mr EM

 

Sefako, Mr OJ

Prins, Ms E

Mlambo, Mr EM

 

 

DA

Julius, Ms JWW

Labuschagne, Ms C

 

Julius, Ms JWW

Smith, Mr CFB

PC on Rural Development & Land Reform

DA

Walters, Mr T

 

 

 

OFFICIALS AND GUESTS

 

Institution

 

Name

Designation

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)

Mr M Ramasodi

Deputy Director-General (DDG): Agricultural Production, Health & Food Safety

Mr BD Msomi

Acting DDG: Food Security and Agrarian Reform

Dr J Moeng

Director: Smallholder Development

Dr T Songabe

Director: Veterinary Public Health

Dr K Magwedere

State Veterinarian - Financial Officer

Dr M Molefe

Acting DDG: Forestry & Natural Resources Management

Mrs ME Mtshiza

Chief Director: Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP)

Ms N Mafani

Parliamentary Coordinator: Office of the DG

 

Department of Health (DOH)

Mr M Ramathuba

Acting Director: Environmental Health

Mr MD Matlala

Acting Director: Food Control

 

Department of Trade and Industry (the dti)

 

Mr A Potwana

Director of Consumer Law & Policy

 

National Consumer Commission (NCC)

Mr E Mohamed

Commissioner

Ms P Moilwa

Head: Enforcement & Investigations

 

National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS)

 

Ms NM Katz

General Manager

Ms Maphuti Kutu

Technical Specialist: Foods/Agroprocessing

 

Department of Social Development (DSD)

Mr  P Netshipale

DDG: Integrated Development

Mr I Brenton

Acting DDG

Ms ME Mbhele

Director: Food & Nutrition Security

Ms T Buthelezi

Acting DDG: Strategy

 

South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)

 

Mr MS Nhlancothi

General Manager

Department of Rural Development & Land Reform (DRDLR)

Mr H Tuolo

Acting Chief Director: Policy

Dr ME Swarts

 

DDG: Rural Enterprise & Industrial Development

 

Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)

 

Mr T Masilela

Outcome 2 Facilitator – Public Health

University of Pretoria (UP)

Prof S Hendriks

(02 Feb 2016)

Director: Institute for Food Nutrition & Wellbeing (UP) and Co-Director: Centre of Excellence in Food Security

 

Prof L Korsten

(03 Feb 2016)

 

Prof in the Department of Plant Sciences

 

 

PARLIAMENTARY SUPPORT OFFICIALS

 

PC on AFF

Ms A Kakaza

Committee Secretary

 

Ms N Mgxashe

Content Advisor

 

Ms N Qwabe

Committee Researcher (Agriculture)

 

Mr N Ginindza

Committee Researcher (Fisheries)

 

Mr M Dodo

Committee Assistant

 

Ms S Govender

Communication Officer

 

PC on Health

Ms V Majalamba

Committee Secretary

 

Ms L Ngomane

Content Advisor

 

Mr Z Rahim

Committee Researcher

 

Ms N Magubane

Committee Assistant

 

PC on Social Development

Ms Y Nogenga

Content Advisor

 

SC on Land & Mineral Resources

Mr A Bawa

Committee Secretary

 

Ms A Zidlani

Committee Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

Documents

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