With the exception of the rainfall over some parts of the country over the past few weeks, South Africa is experiencing, according to the UN, the worst drought in almost 100 years. Add to this the related climate change and water shortages, as well as the sharply increasing electricity prices and the situation for the agricultural sector looks dire.
“What’s worse is that these are just some of the external factors acting on the sector and perpetuating food insecurity,” says Gordon Brown, CEO of Alive2Green, organisers of Sustainability Week 2016, a City of Tshwane hosted initiative taking place at the CSIR Convention Centre in Tshwane from 31 May to 05 June 2016. “Other notable issues include the 50:50 land ownership bombshells, diminishing water quality and yields resulting from the use of inorganic pesticides and fertilizers and the growing dependence on these and other imports such as seed. These are not issues that can continue unabated; they need to be addressed very urgently. It is in essence, a race for survival.”
This statement is evidenced in alarming data issued by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which states that of the 34 countries that will require food aid this year, 27 are on the African continent. So what of our poor? How do we counteract the issues of food shortage, of starvation in many parts of Africa and widening hunger in other parts?
“The answer lies perhaps in returning to a culture of growing food,” continues Mr Brown. “The question of whether or not this is a realistic notion given the inaccessibility to water and space in South African’s townships will be unpacked at the Food Security Summit on 1 June.”
It is at the Summit that thought-leaders and experts in the field of food security, agriculture, and related industries will converge from across the continent and the globe to share the latest thinking and examples of best practice, presenting the changing face of African and South African agriculture.
They will be joined by leaders across a number of areas including Green Business, Water Sustainability, Sustainable Manufacturing, Energy, Mining and Waste at Sustainability Week 2016 I through 14 remarkable seminars and over-flow sessions aimed at promoting collaborative thinking and development to accelerate the sustainable solutions needed to support rapid economic and population growth.
Registration is now open. For full delegate information, schedules, sponsor and speaker information, or for sponsorship or booking enquiries, visit www.sustainabilityweek.co.za.