Food security is a problem that is facing most African nations. In fact, most of the countries have lived with it for decades. South Africa among the African states that are frequently faced with food shortages. Shortage of food is mainly as a result of inability of a country to produce enough food that is able to feed its citizens and also raise the economy. This is caused by several factors, one of which is poor climate and environmental conditions that sustain food production. This requires that South Africans and any other organizations across the globe involved in ensuring food security have to be able to come up with various systems that can help in ensuring that the nation’s food production is elevated to a level that sustains the population that is increasingly expanding.
South Africa is a nation that has got a dual agricultural economy. It has a properly developed commercial as well as subsistence farming that is able to feed the population. However, this is not enough to cater for the needs of the entire population. It requires that more efforts need to be put in the agricultural industry since it is the backbone of the nation’s food production. South Africa is able to improve food production by strengthening the small scale farmers.
Strengthening of small scale farmers will ensure households are able to produce food that can properly support them while at the same time engaging in food production for commercial purposes to cater for other needs thereby increasing the country’s economy. There are several ways in which small scale farmers can be strengthened including provision of farming incentives like agricultural machinery, fertilizers, crops, livestock among others.
There are various forms of agriculture that can be conducted in South Africa including livestock rearing, aquaculture, game farming, poultry and pig keeping, sheep and goat rearing and even crop cultivation. Currently, livestock rearing is doing better than crop cultivation in the country. On the other hand, crop cultivation is also not doing so bad. However, it needs to be raised to a standard that can ensure adequate food production. With the poor climate and environmental conditions in South Africa, most of the crop cultivation activities are conducted through irrigation. When the irrigation is intensified in the particular areas that have got poor rainfall pattern, there is a possibility that food production will be increased. The farmers also need to be equipped with proper information on the ideal crops that do well in the different regions to ensure that they are able to maximize their crop cultivation efforts.
Even though the livestock sector is performing very well, there is still need to strengthen it to ensure that production can be increased. The livestock sector can be strengthened by giving the farmers comprehensive information on the breeds of cattle, sheep and even goats that are able to do well in the regions that are so much affected by droughts. Therefore, they will be able to increase the level of food production. However, there is still a lot that can be done to improve the production of food in South Africa.
How The Income Of Poor Farmers Can Be Improved In South Africa
Almost each and every member of the COMESA relies on agriculture as its main source of food and income. It is sad that, however common farming is in Africa, these countries still grapple with importing food or asking for food donations from other countries such as Europe when they are faced with drought, floods or in most cases do not have enough food for its citizens.
South Africa has made a great step in food dependency but one of the key challenges is how the income of poor farmers can be improved in South Africa who are the majority in this area. Just like other counties in member states of the COMESA, most farmers have small pieces of land and can only afford to practice small scale farming for livestock and crops farming. South Africa in this case has got both large scale commercial farmers who own large tracts of land and making millions of SA. Rand while many small scale farmers struggle to even have their crops doing well in their farmers leave alone getting a ready market for their bounty harvest.
First, farmers need to be given training on key successful farming tips based on their locality. There are different kinds of soil in East and South African countries; this makes it impossible for all countries to have the same kind of farm produce in the market. Countries such as Kenya have been known to produce the best tea in the world but little has been done to improve the current farming trends on tea farming in that region. South Africa’s poor farmers may not exactly have the knowledge on successful farming and they may also be lacking the tools to improve the harvest. Since most of them are poor and illiterate are poor, you cannot expect them to get into the internet or joining agricultural classes. We must find grass root education methods to enhance their livelihood through the best farming methods and give them the tools.
Enhance technology innovations into these farmers: Many farmers are traditional farmers and they will plant the same kind of crop on the same piece of land year round for as long as their generation exists. We have had recent innovations and ideas on how the income of poor farmers can be improved in South Africa. Let’s take for example livestock farming, many poor farmers would prefer keeping hundreds of heads of cattle as a sign of wealth but do not look at the value of income they can get on a day to day basis from those cows. They need to introduce new technologies of livestock farming where they aim at meat or milk production with hybrid cows.
This strategy may seem expensive but it is possible if they change from traditional believes and methods of farming then contributes more to the economy and improve their daily income. Efforts have to be made to stop rural to urban migration and revert youths into commercial farming aimed at food and income generation.
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