Food for people, farming for planet – agroecology in South Africa

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Food for people, farming for planet – agroecology in South Africa

South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, with increasing rates of poverty, unemployment and hunger. Climate change deepens these systematic conditions, increasing the population’s vulnerability according to race, class and gender: 10% of the population (mostly white) owns more than 80% of the wealth, and women earn on average 30% less than men. Youth unemployment is rising annually, currently at 63,9% and is creating intergenerational wealth gaps.
Added to commercial agriculture’s 18%, road transport of processed food products from large-scale food manufacturers via central distribution points to supermarkets across the country, contributes another 1% to South African’s total carbon emissions. This illustrates the economies of scale – manufacturers reduce costs due to large scale production and distribution: South Africa has 40 000 recorded commercial farm units. Most products are produced and distributed from 15000 units, ensuring big profits and deepening environmental destruction.
In South Africa, 45% of the food supply is lost through waste, showing the systematic inefficiency of the large-scale agriculture model. Globally, Sub-Saharan Africa presents very high rates of food insecurity, with declines in food production predicted as climate change impacts worsen. For many agroecological farmers, inequality will deepen if access and control of productive resources remains skewed in favour of commercial farmers, and their vulnerability to climate change will increase if they are not better equipped to adapt.
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Afrique du Sud


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