City steps up drive against Hunger

South Africa’s economic powerhouse, the City of Joburg launched its Seed Collection campaign.
The launch of the campaign was part of the city hosting the Metropolis Annual Meeting held from Tuesday July 16 to Friday 19 July. The meeting is a gathering of 120 cities from around the world under the theme: Caring Cities. The Metropolis Annual Meeting serves as the primary network for the world’s largest cities to share information, knowledge and best practices pertaining to urban issues.

The seed collection campaign is therefore one of the ways that the city will contribute to the theme of the meeting. It is also part of the City’s Agriculture and Food Security Programme and a larger food resilience agenda – one of the city’s ten priorities, aiming to address poverty and inequality by generating employment and sustainable livelihoods.

Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Parks Tau said, “Because we care deeply about our city and its people, we formulated the campaign to address food insecurity among the urban poor, and to empower citizens to become self-reliant in producing food.” Data released by Global Insight in 2008, stated that 21.6% of Johannesburg’s households still lived below the poverty income level and that 42% of poor neighbourhoods struggle daily to get a meal.

“By giving our citizens seeds, garden implements and training, we are promoting access to nutritional food, which in turn, will fight diseases and uphold overall health of people,” the Mayor said.

The Seed Collection campaign reinforces Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) which builds a collective and shared vision of becoming a vibrant, equitable African city with a resilient and adaptive society. The campaign is an excellent opportunity for corporate companies to get involved and assist the vulnerable and hungry not to rely of food parcels but to become self-sustaining through the development of food gardens.

The Metropolis meeting brought mayors, government leaders, experts, international NGOs, and academics under one roof where they will discuss concerns such as food security and resilience, financial sustainability, urban innovation, citizen participation, resource resilience, social cohesion, the informal economy and housing.

The Seed Collection campaign will run until 31 July. The seeds will be distributed to disadvantaged households, cooperatives and schools that have vacant spaces to create food gardens. The Seed Collection Campaign is part of the City of Johannesburg’s Agriculture and Food Security Programme intended to fight hunger and poverty, restore the dignity of all citizens by generating employment and sustainable livelihoods.

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