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Covid-19 heightens the fragility of food security in South Africa.

When a country is reliant on food imports, hunger follows when supply chains are disrupted.


As the national Covid-19 Response Command Centre announces further extensions on the lockdown, evidence shows that the lockdown has been effective in limiting the spread of the virus and is thereby saving lives. The decision to impose a lockdown was taken to ensure the prevention of an utter and complete pandemic in South Africa.


However, this has also meant that many families are not able to make an income during this time. Those who are precariously employed or earn a living under the no work no pay structure are facing food insecurity as their incomes disappear and their food supply starts to run out.


Before the pandemic, chicken farming and the poultry industry were devastated from the impacts of opening the South African market to dumped chicken from the EU, Brazil and the US. The disruption of supply chains during the pandemic has provided a stark revelation that the nation’s food security cannot and must not rely on imported food.


But in the meantime it is our duty to ensure that our neighbours do not go hungry, and that we show solidarity to their cause, a cause being taken up by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.


Vulnerable households are struggling to put food on the table as government lockdowns has put their livelihoods on hold. Vouchers and food parcels help but they are not enough to prevent malnutrition.


Inspired by the Congress of South African Students mantra, Each One Teach One, the Nelson Mandela Foundation is calling on South Africa to take action and play their part in the COVID-19 #Each1Feed1 campaign.


By collaborating with old and new partners, the initiative is seeking to bring relief to the plight of food insecurity during and after the crisis we are facing due to the pandemic and the lockdown. The idea is for all South Africans to contribute to a food distribution network by donating to the Foundation. With their partners, the Foundation will be distributing food hampers to support families for a minimum of three months.


The public is invited to contribute to the initiative by donating through this link.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has kick-started the donations with R500 000.


Image: The chicken industry partnered with nonprofits WeCan and Atterbury Trust on a food drive to benefit a vulnerable community in Pretoria; with Country Bird Holdings donating a ton of chicken to combat hunger. Photograph: Deedawg Photography.


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