Around 11 million South Africans are food insecure and it is estimated that a further 15 million in other Southern African countries (including Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana) also go to bed hungry.
This is being exacerbated by a number of factors including climate change, the current severe drought, water shortages in some regions and floods in others, as well as the 2008 global and current South African financial crisis, which is causing ever more poverty. As a result, food prices continue to increase and will spike further in the coming year.
This according to Jeunesse Park, LLD Honoris Causa, facilitator of the Food Security Summit, taking place on 1 June as part of Sustainability Week 2016 at the CSIR Convention Centre in Tshwane.
“There are many concerns and challenges in feeding our growing and fast urbanising populations as climate changes and resources become increasingly scarce. More support and attention should be focused on better land and resource use, improving production and distribution”, says Mrs Park.
At present only 3% of South African land is considered high potential. But there is hope as Agro-ecology and more responsible farming provide many opportunities.
“More focus on bringing youth into farming and food production, since currently farming is only at around 10% of our employment, and more clever use of technology can introduce innovation and growth into the industry.”
“Beyond actual hunger, we face another, perhaps more insidious problem – concurrent undernourishment and obesity due to the low nutritional value of affordable foods, and the effect this is having on community health,” says Gordon Brown, CEO of Alive2Green, organisers of Sustainability Week, a City of Tshwane hosted initiative. “The question of whether or not this is a realistic notion given the primary challenge of defeating hunger is up for discussion at the seminar by a number of leading experts.”
The Food Security Seminar on 01 June will see thought-leaders and experts in the field of food security, agriculture, and related industries converge from across the continent to share the latest thinking and examples of best practice, presenting the changing face of African and South African agriculture.
They will be joined by leaders across a number of areas including Green Business, Water Sustainability, Sustainable Manufacturing, Energy, and Waste Management at Sustainability Week 2016 through 13 remarkable seminars and over-flow sessions aimed at promoting collaborative thinking and development to accelerate the sustainable solutions needed to support rapid economic and population growth.
Registration is now open for The Food Security Seminar on 01 June as part of Sustainability Week 2016 from 31 May to 05 June 2016. For full delegate information, schedules, sponsor and speaker information, or for sponsorship or booking enquiries, visit www.sustainabilityweek.co.za.