The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) welcomes the announcement by the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) of the establishment of a dedicated team to monitor food security in the province.
The announcement was made during a recent Agriculture and Rural Development Portfolio Committee meeting. This after the DA had called for the issue of food security to be discussed.
The DA is pleased that months of pressure have finally paid off with the formation of this team. More than a quarter (26.5%) of people in our province are classified as food insecure. Meanwhile, 4.3% of the population (124 915) are classified as severely food insecure.
It must be noted though, that these statistics are from 2018 and that the Department does not have more current statistics. The DA has raised this as a point of concern, particularly after the devastating effects of the ANC’s Covid-19 lockdown.
In light of the above, the DA also welcomes the Department’s commitment to present regular updates on the state of food security to the portfolio committee. This was a DA recommendation in order to ensure that the people of KwaZulu-Natal do not suffer from hunger or starvation. This will also provide little room to shift the blame when it comes to confronting the reality of hunger, and its causes, in KZN.
In addition to the call for reports on food security, the DA has also been appealing for a system to track the impacts of the Department’s food security initiatives. For years, DARD has spent billions of Rands on these so-called programmes but has no way of evaluating the impacts of these interventions.
We therefore welcome the further announcement that the Department is in the process of implementing a digital system that also uses geocoding to track and monitor the long-term success of its interventions.
There is no doubt that the DA is the driving force behind the progressive reform agenda within KZN’s Agriculture and Rural Development Portfolio Committee. We will continue to push structural, strategic and administrative reform within this Department in order for it to adequately respond to the needs of the people and the agricultural sector in our province.