“Ensuring household food security is a primary function of government. There is a direct correlation between household food security and societal stability, and with increasing household food insecurity, the risk of social instability has increased significantly.
“The recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal — for the second time in a matter of weeks — has seen yet another spike in the baskets of Pietermaritzburg and Durban. These come on top of the extremely high April increases, in both cities.”
He added: “Heavy rains and flooding impact on agricultural production and produce. The immediate impact, however, is on transporting goods on roads.
“The flooding has caused severe infrastructural damage to a sizeable portion of KwaZulu-Natal’s transportation systems, as well as worsening the already poor road system in parts of the rural agricultural province.
“We have seen examples over the past 18 months of why a functioning railway system offers food safeguards and security. This time, we saw it with the KZN floods.”
Abrahams said effective and efficient railways are a buffer against disaster — climatic and social unrest — but with the soaring diesel price, railways also offer more efficient, more reliable, and cheaper modes of transportation.
“SA’s long value chains, which see food that is now grown very far from our tables and having to be transported very long distances to reach our tables, are being put under severe stress from a variety of variables. The long food value chains make us vulnerable to food insecurity, but especially if our fuel prices continue to escalate, and if our transportation systems and governance system are vulnerable.”
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