A WORD FROM…Johan Kriel
On 26 March 2020 an enormous change took place in the lives of all South Africans when we were hit by Covid-19. We were suddenly in lockdown – no free movement, socialising or working in offices. Schools were closed and students were no longer seen on campuses.
We had to learn to wear masks, and wash and sanitise our hands regularly. Flights were cancelled and families were cut off from one another. People even looked askance if you dared to go to the store for essential groceries. If you sneezed or cleared your throat, people gave you a wide berth.
In this time, farmers also struggled. Farmwork had to go on, because the work never stops. Fortunately, agriculture was recognised to be an essential service, because farming is one of the most important businesses in a country. Without it, we would be faced by the following: Store shelves without food – no fresh fruit and vegetables. Nobody would be able to buy mutton, pork or poultry. The breakfast menu would have to be served without bacon and eggs or krummelpap. And naturally a cup of tea or coffee with milk would not be on the tray either.
Without food you cannot live, and hungry people are angry people. Agriculture is extremely important to a country’s survival. In South Africa, the food providers are in the front line. As if drought and varying weather patterns are not enough, producers are threatened and murdered on the farms (the food factories) every day. Stock theft forces many farmers on their knees. Land reform has become a political plaything – without any thought to what could happen if it is not carefully planned and carried out.
Remind the people around you where the food on their plates and on the shelves in the stores comes from. Pray together as a family for all farmers and farmworkers who – despite all the challenges – keep on making sure there is food on the table.
In order to ensure food security in South Africa, famers must take hands and together pull everyone through.
Publication: April 2021