According to the United Nations Committee on World Food Security, food security is defined as meaning that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Food insecurity describes a scenario where people have limited access to food and struggle to meet their basic needs. While South Africa is food secure at a national level, to a significant degree the country is food insecure at a household level, with hunger being an ongoing national challenge.
Between March and July 2020, non-essential services were forced to shut down and resulted in one of the biggest economic declines South Africa has seen in 100 years. Over two million people lost their jobs, seriously impacting the rate of household food security in the country. According to Global Citizen, a movement using its collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030, 9.34 million individuals faced high levels of acute food insecurity by December 2020.
A vast majority of South Africans are multidimensionally poor, meaning they face poverty on numerous levels. Typically, households within these communities have many dependents to feed, a situation that has only worsened as the most vulnerable in our communities continue to be affected by social issues such as unemployment, crime, gangsterism, domestic violence and most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.
Global Citizen estimates that 27% of children under five years old in SA are underdeveloped due to a lack of adequate nutrition. These children are more likely to grow up with learning difficulties and are more at risk for such issues as diabetes and obesity.
While the effects of the pandemic have exacerbated food security, the country has for many years been in the grip of a hunger crisis. According to Statistics South Africa, in 2017, over half a million households with children under five-years-old experienced hunger. In addition to the pandemic, high food prices, drought and economic decline have all contributed to current food security challenges.
A third of total expenditure is spent on food for low-income households. Due to the pandemic, these vulnerable households are facing temporary or permanent employment interruptions and are under more pressure to feed more mouths. Compounding this, children who are reliant on school feeding schemes, often for their only meals, have no access to food when schools are closed.
Food inflation is also a major challenge when it comes to food insecurity in South Africa. During February 2021, the nominal cost of the National Agricultural Marketing Council’s 28-item urban food basket amounted to R974.80 compared to the R971.98 reported during January 2021, resulting in a monthly increase of 0.3%. When compared to February 2020, an annual increase of 9.4% was calculated.
Feed the Nation Foundation has provided over 30 million meals in the form of food hampers to date, in partnership with funders, Pick n Pay customers, suppliers and welfare organisations. This collective effort has not only helped feed schoolchildren – shelters, aged-care facilities, orphanages, and other vulnerable communities have also benefited during what has become an ongoing crisis.
Every donation counts and we continue to urge customers to join us on our journey to feed those who are so desperately in need. Your donation of just R21 can help feed someone a meal every day for a week.
Donations can be made at till points at any Pick n Pay store, on our website and through the donation of Smartshopper points. Non-perishable food items are also accepted for donation at any Pick n Pay store.
Thank you for your continued support and for helping us Feed the Nation!