Desiree van der Walt
DA Leader in Limpopo
The Democratic Alliance welcomes the Food Park initiative officially opened yesterday in Seshego by the Department of Agriculture to cater for people from indigent backgrounds. Although such an initiative should not be seen as a substitute for government to create conditions for job creation, it will help ameliorate the very harsh conditions faced by poor people in the province. Some 5000 are said to benefit from the Food Park.
What is commendable is that in this initiative some 600 km will be fenced and turned into plots for communities to engage in small scale farming. So in effect, rather than communities getting hand-outs; they will be given a hand-up by getting involved in small scale farming. In this way the levels food security will be improved.
Examples are abounding in the province of NGOs and Drop-in-Centres struggling to get funding from the Department of Social Development in order to look after orphans, the sick or elderly citizens in their care.
Donations of food or pledges thereof from the private sector and NGOs that are reported to have already been received by the Food Park is a clear indication of the benefits that ensue when there is cooperative engagement between government and the private sector.
In the DA’s vision of an Open Opportunity Society for All, both civil society and the state have a role to play in creating opportunity for citizens, while individuals have a responsibility to make use of the opportunities on offer. It is a society grounded in care and compassion for people, and not coldness and callousness.
The Food Park collaboration between the state and the private sector is the vision of an Open Opportunity Society for All in action.