We live in a scandalous society. Enough food is grown in South Africa to feed our people but 13 million people, or 1 in 41, go hungry and 262 million people, or half the population, are at risk of hunger. Poor people spend at least 50% of their income on food3. Any price increase will impact on the poor, forcing them to cope by skipping meals, decreasing the size of meals, eating a smaller variety of foods, eating cheap and expired foods, or borrowing money from loan sharks.
Over the past few years, the price of maize increased by 50%; electricity by 200%. Bread has become a luxury that most households can no longer afford. Large food companies and supermarket chains control the food value chain and push out small producers, local shops and informal traders. Hunger is surrounded by shame. Poor people are blamed for being poor.
On 15-16 October 2014 (International Day of Rural Women and World Food Day) people across South Africa will protest against hunger, fight unjust and unsustainable food systems and showcase viable alternatives for feeding the nation. In doing so, we stand in solidarity with international movements such as the Degrowth Movement, Via Campesina, Food Sovereigntyand SlowFood.
As we celebrate the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, let us show that smallholder, family farmers can feed the world.
Food Justice Now!
The food crisis in South Africa is the outcome of historical land dispossession, together with the stifling of black peasant farming and the engineering of a thriving white large-scale farming class. We now have an “unjust, unsustainable and unkind food system”4, dominated by corporates and supported by the government’s neoliberal policies.
Worldwide, people are protesting against the neoliberal, capitalist development path that is leading to the destruction of our planet. We need to push alternatives to overturn the global food system that affects us all.