Food security means knowing where your next meal is coming from. It means not having to worry about whether your children will get sick because they don't have the right foods. Millions of South Africans are not food secure. This World Food Day, 16 October 2012, help Heifer to support poor rural people to grow food for their families and to sell their produce through organised farmer groups.
Heifer International South Africa (Heifer) is a community development organisation working with rural people to end hunger and poverty in South Africa and care for the Earth. Heifer’s model has been used for nearly 70 years in over 100 countries. In every country, Heifer’s approach has helped poor, rural people to become more food secure through agricultural interventions. Heifer works with groups of poor people over a period of three to five years, helping them to adopt improved farming practices that will increase their productivity, assisting them with gifts of livestock, vegetable seedlings and tree saplings and helping them to form their own groups. Through these groups, new farmers buy in bulk and save money so that they can afford better quality seeds, veterinary medicines and other inputs. They also sell together. This is especially important in countries like South Africa, where it is often extremely difficult for individual small-scale farmers to sell to supermarkets and other buyers.
Heifer’s model also empowers rural families to look after their neighbours. After one to two years, each family that received inputs from Heifer donates the equivalent of what they received – such as the first offspring of their goats, new vegetable seedlings they have grown – to another family. Through this process of Passing on the Gift® poor people take an active role in helping each other out of poverty.
A recent StatsSA report found that 21 percent of South Africans struggle to access sufficient, healthy food. Heifer’s model can help to solve this problem. By helping rural people develop the skills, knowledge and experience to increase the amount of food they produce and to work together as a group, Heifer can help them not only to grow food to eat but also to turn farming into a job.
World Food Day is an important opportunity for all South Africans to pay attention to the very real challenges of hunger and poverty. Heifer’s approach has helped 169 000 rural families in East Africa to become dairy producers. It has helped 15 million families world-wide to escape food insecurity through farming. It has helped 3000 South Africans improve their own lives and the lives of those around them. Donate today to help even more families across South Africa.