17 September 2013
The government has developed a national food security policy that aims to harness under-used agricultural land and establish markets for small-scale producers, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
Addressing a business breakfast briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Joemat-Pettersson said the policy, developed in partnership with the Department of Social Development, included a food production intervention dubbed Fetsa Tlala, or “end hunger”.
“Fetsa Tlala is aimed firstly at ensuring that under-used agricultural land is brought under production,” Joemat-Pettersson said. “We will work with communities, assisting them as required, to ensure that we use every bit of land to produce food.
“Through the Fetsa Tlala food production intervention, we have brought 200 000 hectares of land under production in seven provinces. Our targeted goal is one-million hectares in the next five years.
“Once the food is produced and harvested through Fetsa Tlala, we will then ensure that there is sufficient support for SMMEs [small, medium and micro enterprises] in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries processing sectors to mill the meal or pack the vegetables.”
Joemat-Pettersson said the department would also work with the Department of Trade and Industry to establish markets for small-scale farmers, fishers and foresters.
“This is no dream; it is already happening on the ground, where thousands of hectares have been successfully placed under production – some for consumption, and some for sale, stimulating local economies.
“Government runs hospitals … we have the South African National Defence Force, school feeding schemes, and prisons. Smallholder farmers and producers should have a market in these organisations,” she said.
“Government should be buying food straight from our smallholders and creating viable markets for them. This is what Fetsa Tlala is about. It is about unlocking the economies of rural areas.”