Cape Town – In an effort to tackle hunger in under-resourced communities, Breadline Africa is making strides to improve nutrition in early childhood development by providing initiatives and infrastructure to support childhood development in Southern Africa in light of World Food Day.
While the lockdown posed issues for many homes, the South African Non Profit Organisation's key focus is on executing successful feeding operations in 85 locations to help relieve hunger for many families.
Director of Breadline Africa, Marion Wagner said that while hunger remained a primary social issue, Breadline Africa had been able to provide ingredients to community-based kitchens and early childhood development (ECD) centres, which have provided more than 3 million meals for young children and vulnerable adults across South Africa.
"The reality is that for many households, families do not know how and when their next meal will land on the table, and for millions of children, school meals are often the only source of nutrition. Many families are increasingly reliant on government grants and community-based feeding programmes to get their food.
"Hence, It is important for us to ensure that while we focus on improving educational infrastructure, we cannot ignore hunger. Children are not able to fully focus on their work and learning on an empty stomach, and this is where our nutritional feeding partners, along with community feeding programmes, play such an important role," said Wagner.
University of Stellenbosch Department of Agricultural Economics lecturer Lulama Traub said strategies to improve food production systems in Africa lie with ensuring the stability of our primary agricultural sector.
“The impact of the pandemic on the food system has been mixed. If we want to ensure stability of our primary agricultural sector, we need to support our farmers as they navigate the transition from resource-dependent (expansive agriculture) to productivity-led (intensive agriculture) output growth, especially in the face of climate change.
“Investments in agricultural research and development generate among the greatest impacts on agricultural productivity growth and poverty reduction per dollar spent. This type of public investment will be a catalyst for increased productivity in Africa’s agriculture and, as such, provide a sustainable pathway to meet the continent’s future food demand,” said Traub.
Wagner added that to meet the food demand on the ground, support from ordinary citizens was still needed to push the initiative forward.
"For all of our beneficiaries, a well-equipped kitchen and food supplies ensure that children can get at least one meal while at school.
“We aim to continue providing 12 000 meals a week and plan on placing another 117 feeding kitchens over the next few years. To do this, we need the support of individual and corporate donors. Benefits include tax certificates, enterprise development points, immediate social and environmental impact and branding opportunities, even for partial donations," said Wagner.