Food insecurity and poverty are a major challenge to meeting Sustainable Development Goals’s hence the City of Johannesburg’s Food Resilience Programme is providing interested residents with the means to develop their own food gardens. They avail tractors to co-operatives and individuals to assist with planting. Furthermore, the unit also identifies suitable land and provides farming information, pest control support, access to implements and seeds, business advisory services and access to markets.
“We encourage residents to plant fruit and vegetables in their backyards, on rooftops or in open spaces near where they live. We also support small, medium and large-scale farming co-operatives who wish to grow food to sell to the public,” Simon Motsusi, Food Value Chain Sub-unit Head at the City of Johannesburg. He explained how agricultural production can increase access to healthy and nutritious food which can be used to generate income and agro-processing initiatives.
Over 9 100 small-scale food producers have benefited from the programme and 52 urban farmers have managed to create income-generating projects within the city and over 7 400 disadvantaged families have benefited from food banks across the city.
Emily Dikgale, from the Seven of Blessings Co-operative, Diepsloot said the unit helped them identify the five hectares of land they currently farm after they were told to stop farming next to a local graveyard. “After a couple of years, we officially registered our co-operative and made sure we had the necessary documents,” said Dikgale.
Blessings Co-operative supplies maize, sunflowers, pumpkin, butternut, spinach, chillies, cabbage, onion and tomatoes to locals and residents from nearby areas such as Alexandra and Germiston. Some produce is also sold to Food Lover’s Market in Fourways.