Food redistribution organisation FoodForward SA has launched its ninth mobile rural depot (MRD) programme to address the growing crisis of food insecurity in vulnerable rural communities.
This latest addition is the third MRD in KwaZulu-Natal and will initially serve 1,651 vulnerable people through a network of seven beneficiary organisations located in Mtubatuba, Kwangwanase, Thokoza and Nongoma in the north of the province.
According to Statistics South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of rural areas in South Africa.
While South Africa is food-secure at national level, the country is still food-insecure at household level.
According to Stats SA, almost 20% of South African households had inadequate or severe inadequate access to food in 2017.
This varied by province, population group of household head and by household size.
Access to food in rural areas will become severely hampered, which makes FoodForward SA’s MRD programme all the more critical in helping to address hunger in vulnerable communities, the organisation said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It is globally acknowledged that food banking is mostly an urban solution to addressing hunger, given where the role players within the food supply chain are concentrated. This results in inequitable access to food for those living in rural communities,” said FoodForward SA managing director Andy du Plessis.
Food insecurity affects one in three people.
“Since launching our MRD programme we’ve been able to provide food support even more cost-effectively. It doesn’t require us to set up costly physical infrastructure,” said Du Plessis.
FoodForward SA’s MRD in Worcester, Western Cape, was the first to launch and served five beneficiary organisations when it started in 2019.
According to the organisation, in just over a year it has grown to support 20 organisations that focus on social and community development and which benefit more than 4 000 vulnerable people.
FoodForward SA’s MRD programme now consists of nine depots that support 101 beneficiary organisations and benefit more than 50 000 vulnerable people throughout South Africa.
By Chad Williams