Why South Africa is facing a food crisis?

The national lock-down has made the lack of food security among poorer communities worse and the government will this week provide details of further action to provide food to vulnerable and destitute people who cannot afford to buy food.

Over the past three weeks there have been distressing images of people clamouring for food parcels at distribution centres and of community protests against food shortages. Recently, we saw the looting of stores and trucks, which reflects how severe the food shortage has become.

Many non-governmental organisations did, very early in the lock-down, warn about the impact of the lock-down on already fragile food security amongst vulnerable communities.

Interestingly, In his weekly letter to the nation yesterday, President Ramaphosa offered a frank assessment of the current situation nearly a month into the lock-down.

He said government chose to “err on the side of caution” when implementing state of disaster measures that critics have said have inflicted more damage than necessary to the economy. His letter strongly hinted at the possibility that many people will be allowed to return to various jobs at the end of April when the extension of the lock-down ends.

The president admitted that the inequalities and hunger being highlighted by the covid19 outbreak are not just because of the apartheid past but because of a “fundamental failing in our post-apartheid society”.

He promised that he would shortly provide more clarity on the direct measures that will be taken to ensure that the most vulnerable South Africans don’t have to worry about where their next meal may be coming from.

So this is exactly what we want to unpack this evening. We are asking the question “why South Africa is facing a food crisis?”