Mzansi Agriculture Talk

Covid-19 Watch

Shackled farmer spells food insecurity- Happy Freedom Day

Photo by: Lungile Robela

At the pulsating feet of COVID 19, Farm Share, a United States based organisation established in 1991, is ensuring all farmers (small and commercial) contribute to food packages. 

It collects produce from all farmers and processors to donate to the needy and vulnerable. For some citizens currently unemployed in the US, Farm Share has been their life saving grace. Some of these farmers are at the forefront of voluntarism, even providing logistical support. 

CNN, an international news cable, went into depth covering Farm Share’s efforts from state to state. 

Remarkably, citizens interviewed admitted that without Farm Share, they’d be facing bleak food prospects. Without any income generation, they commended the extraordinary effort of farmers in availing food without expecting any revenue.  

The Miami Times also reported that Farm Share per day, distributed around 18,000 pounds of water; 2,000 bags of chicken; 2,016 bags of oranges; 1,920 bags of apples; 2,400 bags of potatoes and 8,000 pounds of non-perishable to over 2000 households around the city’s hotspots areas. 

Coming closer to home, a similar system usually titled food bank exists but it is ordinary citizens vested in contributing than our farmers leading.  

Merely glossing over the newly established City of Ekurhuleni Food Bank list of contributors or donators, no mention of the word farmer is visible. 

It gauged one’s sense of worry on how advance our farmers were hidden from the face of society. Agricultural organised groups did they bid on behalf of farmers in supplying food parcels but this was also truly not enough. 

Even before the arrival of COVID-19, few farmers voluntarily provided food packages and not to the huge scale of Farm Share. 

Sadly, even our society seems oblivious to the existence of farmers, and no special medium has taught nor encouraged citizens to seek farmers or buy fresh produce from them.  

Farmers as individuals need to come out louder and come closer to society. A version of South African Farm Share is possible which would help reduce hunger and malnutrition in the country. 

COVID 19 pandemic has exposed society’s zeal to help one another but it has also shown that without food, we will never be free. It needed all farmers, so that society sees the man and women who are responsible for producing our food constantly. 

Going forward, the proper use of land will need to centre discussions, to ensure food security is not compromised.

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