Food garden alleviate poverty

The provincial department of agriculture and rural development’s food security programme, Re Kgaba Ka Diratswana, has led to the establishment of 1 057 thriving food gardens in the Lejweleputswa District Municipality.

The MEC for agriculture and rural development, Mamiki Qabathe, said Re Kgaba Ka Diratswana was initiated by the Free State provincial government to ensure that there is food security in communities throughout the province.

“The programme has already been implemented in identified towns throughout the province as a way of encouraging communities to use vegetables to beautify their communities. This will also assist to fight hunger and malnutrition brought about by unemployment and poverty among these needy communities,” said Qabathe at the project’s launch held in Virginia last week.

For the past five months the department has been working feverishly to implement the project that forms part of an outcome-based plan called “food security for all,” which is aimed at alleviating food insecurity within the province.

Qabathe said during 2012/13 financial year, rapidly rising global food prices have posed a threat to the food security of poor households throughout the world and specifically contributed to increasing levels of poverty in South Africa.

“The alleviation of poverty remains a challenge and government’s role as an agent to create conditions conducive for employment will be accelerated through broader government programmes developed to create job creation, stimulate economic growth and contribute towards rural development.”

The food gardens are currently operating in the schools and church yards. The MEC bemoaned the fact that many community parks have been turned into dumping sites. She said the department is going to monitor all the food gardens to ensure that they are self-sustainable.

“In January, the Re Kgaba Ka Diratswana initiative will be seven months old, and we will give awards to the best gardens with the best produces.”

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Qabathe said the provincial government remains committed to creating a conducive environment for people to produce their own food and caution poor residents of the province from the rising food prices.

“As I have mentioned in my Budget Speech for 2013/14, through the Re Kgaba Ka Diratswana initiative, households, clinics and schools are targeted where hectares of land including backyards and communal gardens will be cultivated.

“We hope that our communities will transform their love for agriculture into real action, and work together to revitalize agriculture and put the province on the road to sustainable development.”