While South Africa as a whole is a food secure nation, many specific areas of the country are not food secure. For many, waiting for the government to assist has been futile and very little has changed for them despite many initiatives to address problems around food insecurity.
What is food security?
According to the Food and Argriculture Organization, food security is defined as “a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food.”
Added to that, it has to meet people’s dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Other factors to take into account, are quantity, quality and ease of access to food by a given population.
One farmer took matters into his own hands
As reported by the Letaba Herald, farmer Daile Mafoko decided in 2011 that he needed to act himself to help people in his area. Mafoko began to work the one hectare of land belonging to his grandfather in the non-productive Makgaung irrigation scheme near Hoedspruit.
Initially, Mafoko began with just three workers and early on their farming endeavours were enough to provide for the needs of himself and his team. Based on this initial success, the traditional authority granted him an additional 11 hectares to work and help alleviate problems of food security in the region.
The land granted to him was initially farmed by his close relatives but had lain unused like many other pieces of land in the area.
The Hoedspruit farmer expanded his project
Mafoko’s farming operation has grown and employs 12 permanent staff and now farms vegetables, chickens and goats for local and international markets.
Mafoko has done exceptionally well to grow his operation and help the inhabitants of the area, but there’s still a long way for him to go, and he has a vision of improving his farming capabilities. He explained:
“Since my farm operations are growing, I would like to have feed-processing implements to meet livestock feeding requirements. My [goat-handling] facilities are just [improvisational]. A durable handling infrastructure would make matters easier for progressive farming.”
Despite all the challenges faced, Mafoko is an example of the South African can-do spirit and hopefully, his success can inspire others.