On October 16 every year, the world observes World Food Day to look at ways of creating awareness about fighting hunger.
Since it was founded under the auspices of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Food Day has highlighted the importance of creating awareness on fighting hunger.
Last year, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in partnership with the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development, the City of Tshwane and the FAO commemorated World Food Day under the theme "Agricultural co-operatives — key to feeding the world", in Sokhulumi, Bronkhorstspruit.
The theme was in line with the declaration by the UN of 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives.
FAO director general Graziano da Silva said co-operatives are a way to lift small-scale farmers out of poverty through collective bargaining and access to markets.
The main aim of the department is to encourage households to produce their own food as well as diversifying their food basket by growing and going back to consuming indigenous foods.
The department also acknowledges and supports cooperatives as a way of ending hunger, especially in rural communities that are the hardest hit by soaring food prices.
Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the department is working hard to realise the government's "one family, one food garden" initiative and taking every step to fight hunger.
She said that it is unacceptable that South African citizens go to bed hungry while the country is considered food secure.
According to the National Agricultural Marketing Council, poor households in rural areas spent R16.74 more on food for the same food basket than their urban counterparts.
She congratulated the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development in assisting co-operatives and small-scale farmers.
The minister also visited projects in the Sokhulumi area and provided assistance in the form of seedlings and also gave two tractors to agricultural projects in the area.
As is custom in all World Food Day commemorations, the department built a food mountain consisting of canned food and non-perishable foodstuffs that were distributed to identified households in Sokhulumi.
There were 250 households that received seedlings, seed packs, garden tools such as a spade, digging fork, hoe, rake and watering can (per household), and fruit trees (mango and orange).
The National Association of People Living with Aids centre was assisted with fencing of 400 hectare of land, fruit trees and seedlings and three poultry projects received, 1 000 broilers, medication and feed.
The local secondary school received 100 fruit trees (mango and orange) and the five cooperatives in the area were each given a tractor.
This year World Food Day was commemorated under the theme "Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition".
The national department, North West department of agriculture and rural development, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Mahikeng Municipality as well as the FAO, commemorated this year's World Food Day on October 16 at Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Mahikeng Stadium in the North West.
This article forms part of a supplement paid for by the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Contents and photographs were supplied and signed off by the department.