By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – Maluti–a–Phofung (MAP) is one of the most impoverished communities in the Free State, that is why the MEC of the department of agriculture and rural development (DARD) Saki Mokoena decided to celebrate World Food Day here.
The day was marked under the theme ‘Water is life, water is food – leave no one behind.
“It has now become common place for government officials to post pictures of flashy lifestyles and expensive alcohol on social media. What they are spending is the people’s money. The reason why you see mountain of food and these wheelbarrows and garden tools in front of you is because my department is making a concerted effort to fight against hunger and poverty in our province by spending the people’s money on resources that they can use to improve their lives,” Saki Mokoena said to the crowd gathered at Mookodi Secondary School in commemoration of World food day.
“Malnutrition is a serious problem in the world today and in the district of Thabo Mofutsanyana access to adequate nutritious food is a challenge. According to our statistics in the district’s health department, the percentage of children who are hospitalized and die because of hunger increases every year. As a department we are here today to show our support in the production of nutritious and healthy food so that we fight against hunger and poverty and ensure that we are raising a healthy society,” said Dineo Mopeli, a nutrition expert working for the department of health.
Mopeli also explained that the role of water in the diet is very important because it has various roles to play like to aid with the absorption of nutrients from food, hydrating the body and to assist with digestion.
“During planting water also plays a very critical role.”
World Food Day is an annual event that is observed on the 16th of October globally.
According to statistics released by the Census 2022, 13.8 percent of all households in South Africa are involved in agricultural activities at household level and 6.2 percent of these households are in the Free State and their produce is mainly for consumption.
MEC of DARD Saki Mokoena and beneficiaries of food hampers and gardening resources.
Access and availability of nutritious food is a serious challenge for most households due to multiple challenges such as rising food prices, climate change and the staggering inequality in our communities.
In closing, the food mountain was dismantled and 150 beneficiaries were given food hampers, garden tools and seeds to assist them with their food producing projects.
One o the beneficiaries Mildred Dlamini said the following upon receiving her share of the recourses:
“I am very happy to be one of the beneficiaries today. This shows that working hard with your hands has its benefits because you don’t have to buy food you can also plant food to feed yourself.”
In an interview with this publication, MEC Mokoena said the Free State government’s Food and Nutrition Security Plan aims to restore the dignity of its people by assisting with resources and the knowledge to produce nutritious and healthy food.
Among those present in support of this initiative was the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality (TMDM) speaker Thabo Mokoena and representatives of the Bakoena Royal Household led by Chief Nyakallo Mohale.