The South African Food Sovereignty Campaign launched a special campaign and helpline with the purpose of allowing farmers the opportunity to report on the effects of the country’s ongoing drought.
The Voice of the Cape spoke to Imraahn Mukaddam, coordinator of the South African Food and Sovereignty Campaign about the extent and effect of the drought on farmers and consumers.
He says that the campaign aims to encourage farmers to assist one another, form cooperatives and be in touch with the relevant authorities.
“It serves as more of an advice center,” explains Mukkadam. He clarifies that the organisation offers advice rather than resources as they are not a resource organisation.
Mukkadam says the response to the helpline made available to farmers has been well received as they have been approached by a number of small scale farmers directly affected by the drought, who have requested assistance.
Food prices are highly likely to start spiking, which is for all not an ideal or particularly welcome situation.
Mukaddam says that part of the organisations plans last year was to launch a food campaign, but says that it will not be a viable option given South Africa’s current economic climate.
“It’s very difficult and almost inappropriate to do so under the current circumstances because we realise that the drought is devastating and coupled with that we have a weak rand,” said Mukaddam.
When probed on how to counteract the effects of rising food prices, Mukaddam let on that not much could be done about the situation.
“Certainly consumers will be affected by high food prices and not much can be done other than to appeal to corporates to reduce their profits,” he said.
It has also come to light that farmers are being forced to make use of a certain drought resistant seed, which Mukkadam warns is in essence an opportunistic action on the part of companies.
“We don’t need so called drought resistant seeds whilst caught up in the center of a crisis, ” said Mukaddam.
He also emphasises that whatever benefits the seed may provide will not immediately translate into relief for farmers.
“This is food colonialism and the empire striking back at South Africa’s involvement in BRICS, amongst other things, which is also one of the reasons why our currency is being attacked,” he suggests.
The South African Food Sovereignty Campaign stresses the importance of politicising food as it is the most important aspect of our daily lives, being vital for our survival. VOC (Haanim Davids)