PHA food drive for farmworkers

Food hampers are being distributed to 1 550 farmworkers' families in the Philippi Horticultural Area.

Food and basic essentials are being distributed to hundreds of vulnerable workers and their families in the Philppi farmlands.

The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) Food and Farming Campaign is running the drive to distribute R500 hampers of mielie meal, tinned foods, cooking oil, vegetables, peanut butter, coffee, soup, hand soap, sanitary pads and more to 1 550 families during the Covid-19 lockdown.

They are helping farmworkers, labour tenants and residents of the PHA’s ten informal settlements. 

“The Covid-19 crisis will also be a hunger crisis. We are deeply concerned about the impact the lockdown will have on our farmland communities. We must act today,” said Nazeer Sonday, chairman of the PHA Food and Farming Campaign.

The PHA campaign, which has been active in the Philippi area for 12 years, estimates 1 550 families will go hungry during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Spaza shops have closed, piecemeal work opportunities are scarce, school feeding schemes have closed and other food distribution systems in the informal settlements have been restricted by lockdown regulations.

Unemployment, already a problem in informal settlements, is more entrenched.

Farm labour tenants, although exempt from lockdown, are facing a grim struggle as the numbers of people they support on low wages have now grown.

One worker supported four other people, said Mr Sonday.

According to him, the PHA informal settlement and labour tenant communities have a 50% unemployment rate and in one informal settlement alone, 900 children are no longer benefiting from the school feeding schemes.

Most of the PHA communities depend on temporary work, such as domestic or construction work, and they will be without money. People who depend on farmworkers will be most affected.

“Farmworkers are the same people who are ensuring that despite this virus, everyone in the Western Cape will be able to continue to put food on the table in the future. This is an essential service.

“Let us support them,” said Mr Sonday.

He said they would apply the necessary caution to ensure the virus wasn’t spread with the hampers.

People can also donate half hampers costing R250. One hamper is sufficient to feed a family of four for one week.

As of Tuesday morning, 654 food hampers had been donated.

For more information, visit www.vegkopfarm.com/foodsecurity or contact Susanna Coleman at suscoleman@gmail.com or 082 811 0427.