14 Nov Media Release: Main players in food system convene to address food security

The current drought has brought the issue of food security in South Africa to the fore. In recent months, the CPI food inflation rate was 12,3% while the monthly cost of a nutritionally balanced “food basket” has catapulted by a shocking 25%. Most affected by this spike in food prices are maize, fats and oils and fruit and vegetables. Shifts in these prices will result in a further degradation to nutrition in the country.

On 15 November 2016 the Southern Africa Food Lab will convene a knowledge sharing and leadership platform with a diversity of people active in the South African food system in order to address such challenges. Participants range from smallholder and commercial farmers to retailers, government and academia.

The national workshop, which will take place at the 17 Shaft Conference Centre in Soweto, aims to engender dialogue aimed at improving understanding of the current state, drivers, trends and opportunities within the South African food system so as to identify the potential levers for large-scale positive shifts.

“We trust that by transferring our collective knowledge to participants and their networks, we will see greater momentum in advancing the collaborative action in addressing the identified levers,” explains Dr Scott Drimie, Director of the Southern Africa Food Lab. “But we are also there to learn so that we might share and deepen the continued impact of the Food Lab in addressing issues related to a just and sustainable food system in South Africa and the region.”

Tatjana von Bormann, who represents WWF South Africa on the Advisory Board of the Food Lab, noted that in order to see long term solutions to the challenges in the sector we must get the fundamentals right. “It is essential that, as a nation, we stimulate inclusive economic growth – deep enough to reach those living in extreme poverty – and complement this with stable political conditions, expansions of the agricultural sector, adequate social protection measures and the introduction of policies frameworks, which support the natural resource base.”

“Long term solutions also require practices that ensure ecosystem health and productivity and resilience to a changing climate.”

For more information: Carolyn Cramer, Communications Manager for the Southern Africa Food Lab, at caz@cozitcounts.co.za or 082 929 0348.