Food security threat looms

2012-07-11 12:28

Pretoria - A population boom across the world will undermine food security and urgent counter-measures are needed, the Land Bank said on Wednesday.

Chief executive Phakamani Hadebe said a new approach was needed to sustain food security as the world moved towards the 22nd century.

"We really have to review the way we do business. Food security will demand new thinking and a new approach."

Hadebe was briefing reporters in Centurion at the signing of a multi-billion rand agricultural loan deal between the bank and agricultural services and food group Afgri.

"For the world to be able to produce sufficient food, we will need to improve our technology. We need new systems to enhance our productivity. We also have to work smarter."

Without sufficient food, cross-border migration would swell rapidly, he said.

"The boundaries that we have will diminish over time, which means we will see a lot of migration. Countries that appear to be doing better (economically) will attract more people."

United Nations forecasts indicated the global population was likely to reach nine billion by 2050, with the major growth taking place in developing countries. Factors such as water shortages, climate change, and rising growth rates in developing countries would also jeopardise food security.

"South Africa is beginning to feel the impact of water shortage. The country's population by 2050 could be at around 55 to 60 million. How are we going to achieve this objective (of food security)?"

Hadebe said the Landbank/Afgri deal was beneficial not only to South Africa, but the whole African continent.

"The combination of the two entities' efforts, not only benefits our institutions, but the whole country. The impact will not only reside in South Africa, but we have efforts of looking beyond South Africa."

Afgri CEO Chris Venter said Africa's thriving population would soon put pressure on the continent's food reserves.

"We want to continue to expand our footprint into Africa. We need this partnership to ensure the sustainability of food security and we can't do that on our own."

Venter said his company was actively supporting farming in countries, including Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"Through our involvement in Zimbabwe, we have realised an improvement in the agricultural activities there. On the sugar (production) and tobacco side there are increases, but the country is still a long way from where it was.

"There is a general positivity in terms of agriculture across the African continent. More African governments realise that they need to secure food security," he said.

Last week, the Land Bank announced it had raised R1bn from the African Development Bank, and a further R830m from the South African capital markets. 

  • corne.coetzee.92 - 2012-07-11 12:44

    One way of dealing with the looming crisis is to hand over the farms to the hard working, experienced, previously disadvantaged members of our fully functional community.

      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-07-11 13:04

      Corne ,Please be more cautious with making such irresponsible comments this issue is very sensitive.

      djmain1 - 2012-07-11 13:10

      Another way is to make it a crime for farmers to destroy surplus crops in order to keep food prices high.

      ricky.hammer.92 - 2012-07-11 13:17

      Tongue in cheek ?

  • gieljam.gomtor - 2012-07-11 13:12

    What over population are they talking about? Definitely not in Africa. Every time I make a comment of exactly the same nature here it is removed immediately giving me the idea that it is seen as a racial statement and not accepted.

      tracy.c.fourie - 2012-07-11 14:57

      "What over population are they talking about? Definitely not in Africa." Surely you jest, gieljam. Your statement can only be true if the African population is educated and skilled - and therefore able to provide. The uneducated, tribal and serf-like norms of the majority of the present African Indigenees, unfortunately ensures that their capital is invested in large families. They are consequently largely trapped in that unsuitable culture and are thus deprived of the necessary tools essential for a decent life. The result is the overpopulation, famine and misery we are now seeing on an increasing scale.

  • genet.joobs - 2012-07-11 13:22

    Well then, now is the time to get down on your knees to thank the farmers who produce the food , and to stop threatening them, and time for the government to look after the farmers.

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-07-11 13:52

    Talk about mincing words or just plain ignorance! Chris Ventor's characterisation of Adrica as 'thriving' is inappropriate. Generally defined to mean something like 'characterized by success or prosperity' ( it seems to me to be totally inappropriate. If indeed it were true, then food secirity would not be an issue, rather Africa would be a net exporter of food...just like Zimbabwe and SA once were. Maybe changes in the food status of these two countries can serve as a model for what is wrong and a laboratory for what needs to be changed to avoid food deprivation. Come on people, call a spade a spade...then dig with it.

      debeerjp - 2012-07-11 14:40

      He did not say Africa is thriving (which would be false), but that Africa's population is thriving (which is true).

  • Glyn - 2012-07-11 14:42

    About time the government stated their case on the overpopulation threat. Only have as many children as you can afford. What does the anc government say? Nothing! Time to vote DA!

  • don.quioxte.3 - 2012-07-11 15:17

    You can improve your technology all you want but until we control rampant breeding its not going to help.

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