Tuesday 10 May 2016

SAFSC Press Statement #DroughtSpeakout #NationalBreadMarch

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media breakfast
Press statement
10th May 2016

Unite against hunger
national Peoples speak out and  bread march

Building Unity to Confront the Climate and Food Crises

The SAFSC welcomes and endorses the ‘Break Free From Coal’ campaign, the protests planned by Earthlife Africa and  the actions of the Minining Affected Communities Network against extractivism and mining pollution. The mining of coal, climate change and food system crisis are connected. South Africa needs a united peoples movement to confront these challenges and secure climate justice. The SAFSC will be supporting all the activities announced today on this platform. We also welcome the support and solidarity of partner organisations on this platform.

Climate Change,  Drought and Food Price Increases

South Africa’s El Nino  induced drought is exposing serious weaknesses in the states response. While South Africa has experienced El Nino induced droughts before, this particular drought is linked to the worsening climate crisis. Last year the world’s temperature increased by 1 degree celsius and recorded the hottest temperatures on the planet. This trend is continueing.  While the state is responding to commercial farmers it is not doing enough for smalls scale farmers and poor communities. The state is also not using the Disaster Management Act in a way that mobilises society to learn about the climate crisis, strengthen water management plans and draw out lessons for the future.
South Africa’s drought is affecting millions of people and increasing starvation. Coal burning is killing us. Climate change is further exposing the problems with a corporate controlled food system. Before the drought 14 million people went to bed hungry and about 46% were food insecure. Many more are suffering now as food prices have been increasing. All measurements of food prices are showing a dramatic increase in food inflation, with year on year increase of  particularly staples. The year-on-year increase for Jan 2015 to Jan 2016 was 14.6%. The biggest increases have been in mielie meal, samp, cooking oil and potatoes. Food profiteering denies us the right to food under the constitution.
Moreover, food inflation has eroded the value of social grants. According to PACSA the total of old age pension (R1510  in April/October 2016) comes short in terms of the  current cost of a  food basket (R1879.24 in February 2016). Moreover, a minimum food basket (household of 4) costs R2420.77 in February 2016. In South Africa 27 millon people earn less than R3000 per month and with food price increases, particularly of staples, hunger is going to worsen.  Already  1 in 5 children suffer from malnutrition and learning disabilities. Food profiteering undermines the future of our children
Bread Price Scam

Bread prices have also been increasing in the context of the drought. A loaf of brown (700g)  increased by 5.73 % and a loaf of white by 5.34%. South Africans mainly eat bread on a daily basis. Food corporations make millions from bread which contributes to profits, bonuses and hugh salaries for management. At the same time, food industry workers earn low wages and are mainly outsourced.

All studies show bread and food prices are increasing because of the drought and a corporate controlled food system. At the same time, Grain South Africa has confirmed that imported wheat is cheaper than local wheat. Bread prices should not be going up but should be declining. We are experiencing a ‘bread price scam’. The Competition Commission has failed to stop this. Some retailers believe by keeping bread price increases below food inflation is acceptable. We reject this profiteering given the crisis facing our society.  Its time for peoples power, through non-violent action,  to end food profiteering

Towards Food Sovereignty Alternatives

South Africa needs to diversify its food system and ensure the people can control the food system to survive the climate crisis. In this regard we want to announce three actions that would advance a food sovereignty pathway for South Africa and compliment the actions announced by our partners.

(I)            National Peoples Drought Speak Out

This platform will give an opportunity to those ignored by the media and government to give voice to their suffering. Small scale farmers, rural communities, the urban poor and the hungry, as well as, food experts who will be giving testimony on the impact of the drought and the need for urgent food sovereignty alternatives. Details:

Date: Friday, 13th May
Time: 9am – 1pm
Location: Women’s Jail, Consitutional Hill

     (II) National  Bread March

The SAFSC will lead a national Bread March to draw attention to the hunger being induced by the corporate controlled food system and the need for food sovereignty alternatives.

Date: Friday, 13th May
Time: 1pm
Route: Starts Women’s Jail, Consitutional Hill,  proceeds to WITS University at which a memorandum will be handed over and then to Pick n Pay corner Jorissen and Jan Smuts to hand over a memorandum to food corporation CEOS, Ministers and Chapter 9 institutions.

(II)          Local  Bread Marches
In coming weeks the SAFSC will be rolling out localised and non-violent bread marches to bread corporations and food retailers. We will use these marches to create a platform to communicate the demands from the National Drought Speak Out and Bread March.

Unite against Hunger and Food Profiteering!
Turn Down the Heat Through Food Sovereignty
Forward to a Peoples Movement for Food Sovereignty and
Climate Justice Now!

Contact :
Davine Cloete: 071 5922 361
Vishwas Satgar: 082 775 3420
Xolisa Bangani: 081 414 8411

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