Johannesburg. 13 October 2022. World Food Day, commemorated this coming Sunday, 16 October, is a time for the country to reflect and commit to act on the crisis of malnutrition in South Africa, particularly among children.
South Africa suffers alarming child malnutrition statistics. According to South African Child Gauge® 2020, not only is chronic malnutrition an underlying cause for half the childhood deaths in our country, but 1.5 million children or one in three, and one in four children under five years of age, are stunted in their growth.
The 2020 research also found that child hunger had increased by 50%, with one in six households reporting that children had gone hungry in the previous seven days. In addition, around 30% of children live in households where no adults are employed and have little or no access to a daily healthy diet.
“In South Africa, the slow violence of hunger has a negative impact on children’s nutritional status. Many children under the age of five suffer undernutrition, stunting or low height for their age, wasting or low weight for their age, or are overweight or obese and have micronutrient deficiencies also known as ‘hidden hunger’ where essential micronutrients are missing from their diets,” says Arthur Ramaroka, Corporate Nutritionist, Tiger Brands.
Tiger Brands, Africa’s largest listed food producer, has taken the lead in developing programmes that address the challenge of malnutrition in South Africa, with a key focus on child nutrition.
The company recently launched Isondlo, a child nutrition programme, to support 10 000 children aged five and under and their families who are food insecure. The initiative is a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund who will use their grassroots implementing partners across the country to distribute the hampers and monitor their progress.
The monthly food hamper is designed to meet the nutritional needs of children aged 5 and under and support a family of four to five individuals. In addition to the monthly food hamper, each family will receive a once-off vegetable garden starter kit in their first hamper distribution.
“As South Africans, we can no longer be onlookers in the battle against child hunger. It is our moral obligation to make a difference in improving food security in our communities because our children will determine what the future of our country will look like, and we must play our part in contributing to a future where there is zero child hunger,” says Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Chairman, Tiger Brands.
Further to Isondlo, Tiger Brands supports nutrition across different development milestones through its other food nutrition programmes.
Food and nutrition support programme
Our Food and Nutrition programme aims to reduce the immediate need for food by providing nutritionally balanced food parcels to non-profit organisations that focus on food security and nutrition. Through this programme, we provide approximately 35 000 food parcels to community members on a monthly basis.
Community and household food garden initiative
The Tiger Brands Community Food Garden Initiative uses education and skills training to address food security and environmental sustainability while our Household and Community Food Garden Initiative is implemented in communities that receive nutrition support from Tiger Brands. This is to encourage families to grow their own food to augment the food hampers they receive from Tiger Brands.
School breakfast programme
The Tiger Brands Foundation supports approximately 80 000 children daily with a nutritious breakfast at school. Since 2011, the Foundation had served more than 100 000 000 breakfasts.
In partnership with Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) our school gardening and nutrition programme, Eduplant, develops school-linked food security clusters in under-resourced communities and townships through permaculture gardens. First launched in 1994, this programme has grown to become the largest and most impactful programme of its kind in Southern Africa.
University Nutrition Programme - Plates 4 Days
The focus of our university nutrition programme, Plates4Days, is to reduce student hunger at tertiary institutions by supporting qualifying students with nutritionally balanced food hampers. Our programme supports approximately 5200 students at seven universities and across nine campuses.