The Grow Great campaign commends the president for taking bold & decisive action to address the widespread hunger witnessed across South Africa as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown.
Now it’s time for South Africa’s food manufacturers, wholesalers & retailers to step up to the plate and make a basket of highly nutritious food items more affordable.
Grow Great proposes a “Solidarity Basket” of ten disaster relief food items that could help to prevent a spike in acute malnutrition in vulnerable households. These foods items include eggs, maize meal, beans/lentils, soya mince, tinned fish, peanut butter, rice, soup mix, aMasi and full cream milk powder and they have been identified because of their high nutritional value and wide use across South Africa’s cultural groups.
Many South Africans have been left vulnerable to food and nutrition insecurity during the current COVID19 pandemic and public health measures put in place to curb its spread. South Africa’s children and families are on the edge. An estimated quarter of children under five suffer from nutritional stunting as a result of chronic malnutrition, malnutrition is an underlying contributory factor in at least two-thirds of child deaths in South Africa , a quarter of pregnant women in South Africa are reported to go hungry and twenty-five percent of households live below the food poverty line . Our communities have no reserves and the shock of the 35-day COVID19 pandemic lock down (and its possible extension) will result in a spike in acute malnutrition if we do not work together as a country to protect food & nutrition security for the most vulnerable during this time.
As the Grow Great Campaign, a campaign dedicated to ensuring no child is denied the opportunity to reach their full potential as a consequence of the effects of malnutrition, we are calling on food manufacturers, wholesalers & major retailers to assist South Africa’s families during these challenging times.
Our government has taken the lead by putting additional cash into the hands of vulnerable households, but that cash won’t go very far in averting a malnutrition crisis if highly nutritious foods are not made more affordable Inevitably, there will also be many people in need who will not be recipients of the additional social security measures. We appreciate that many retailers are already involved in their own efforts to assist during this challenging time, but the economic impact of the pandemic on South Africa’s families is so large that preventing a secondary malnutrition epidemic will take the food industry work alongside government to ensure highly nutritious foods are affordable.
As South Africans we can and will overcome this pandemic and triumph over its far-reaching ramifications on our economy, health systems and the well-being of our people. Victory over the pandemic will, however, require us coming together as non-governmental organisations, government and business to ensure the most vulnerable are protected and that hard-won gains in health and development are fiercely defended during this time.
For more information contact Duduzile Mkhize – Duduzile@growgreat.co.za Cell: +27(0)76 694 9902