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Hunger stalks millions of rural people because of covid-19

The United Nations World Food Programme has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic will see more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of the year.

The United Nations World Food Programme has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic will see more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of the year.

People living in rural areas are likely to be the hardest hit due to a lack of resources and interruption to food security.

Jane Malejane a subsistence small scale farmer from Motsane village in Limpopo says the COVID-19 corona virus lockdown has impacted their business. Now they are worried what will happen to their crops if the lockdown period continues fo rmuch longer. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialised agency of the United Nations, warns that the spread of illness like Covid-19 can devastate poor rural communities and small-scale food producers who already face challenges such as weak resilience, poor nutrition and limited access to resources and services.

According to IFAD, about 63% of the world’s poorest people work in agriculture and the overwhelming majority on small farms. It also says most of the poorest, hungriest and most marginalised people live in rural areas. 

Subsistence and small scale farmer Thomas Tebadi Molejane is worried about the impact of the COVID19 corona virus lockdown on his farming business. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

“Since this lockdown, we can’t find customers. They can’t come to us and we can’t go to them. Aaaaowaaa…we would be in trouble if this lockdown continues. People will starve,” says Thomas Malejane.

Small scale farmers in Motsane in the Limpopo’s Sekhukhune have been unable to sell their produce due to the COVID19 corona virus lockdown. They have also not applied for government’s relief measures for small scale farmers. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

“Shortage of fertilisers, veterinary medicines and other input could affect agricultural production. More broadly, the crisis is expected to have profound effects on the global economy, which will certainly affect small-scale rural producers on a much broader scale.” IFAD

Small scale farmers in Motsane in the Limpopo’s Sekhukhune have been unable to sell their produce due to the COVID19 corona virus lockdown. They have also not applied for government’s relief measures for small scale farmers. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media
Potatoes harvested from a small holder farm in Motsane in Limpopo. Residents make a living by selling their produce to traders. But since the lockdown period traders have not been able to travel to the village due to restrictions. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media
A food parcel hamper delivered to indigent families by volunteers from the Mining Affected Communities United in Action around rural villages in Sekhukhune, Limpopo. The food is usually the only food many families survive on during the lockdown period Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media
Ramadimetja Thibejane was unable to apply for a social relief grant grant because she doesn’t have a bank account. She had run out of food until she received a hamper from the Mining Affected Communities United in Action. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

“This food came when I had lost hope. I am going to have something to eat for a few more days and I am grateful. I hope these children can help others like me who are suffering.” Ramadimetja Thobejane

Mabotjane Thobejane inspects the food hamper left for her brother who had gone into the mountains to search for food in Moshira. Many households ran out of food during the lockdown period as they could not earn a living in the informal sector. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media
Tokelo Mahlakoana from the Mining Affected Communities United in Action delivers food parcels to the Debele household in Moshira. The family of eight survive on a child support grant which is not enough to sustain the unemployed adults and school going children Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

“The food is not much. But without the little that we give to the families the suffering would be even greater.” Tokelo Mahlakoana.

Volunteers from the Mining Affected Communities United in Action arrive to deliver food at the home of Ramadimetja Thibejane who was unable to apply for a social relief grant grant because she doesn’t have a bank account. She had run out of food. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media
Unemployed Diale Mokoka has been depending on relatives for meals since the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed by government in March. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

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