The comprehensive agricultural support programme grant of R5 billion over the medium term (2019–2021) aims to create 450 black commercial farmers during this period, by providing more affordable credit through a blended finance mechanism developed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Land Bank, to leverage government and private funds.
Through Operation Phakisa, DAFF has also allocated R5 billion to provide 435 000 subsistence farmers over the medium term with support which includes access to markets, repairing infrastructure damaged by floods, drought relief and revitalising provincial agricultural colleges.
According to Stats SA’s report, titled Towards measuring the extent of food security in South Africa: an examination of hunger and food inadequacy, released in 2019, 6.8 million South Africans experienced hunger in 2017. While this number dropped from 13.5 million in 2002, 1.7 million households are still affected, more than half a million of which had children aged five years or younger.
The same report found that, out of the 16.2 million households in the country, 1.7 million (10%) were vulnerable to hunger in 2017; 63% of which were in urban areas. Despite Limpopo being one of the poorest provinces, it had the least number of households vulnerable to hunger due, in large part, to the popularity of subsistence farming in the region.
According to The Economist’s Global Food Security Index 2018, a measurement tool that reports on the affordability, availability and quality of food accessible to the population, South Africa ranked 45th out of 113 countries surveyed (down one place since 2017). The scorecard focuses on criteria such as the presence of food safety net programmes, nutritional standards, food loss, agricultural import tariffs, volatility of agricultural production, food consumption as a share of household expenditure and access to farmer financing.