'Hunger can be halted'

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs and rural redevelopment Lydia Johnson says measures put in place to address challenges faced by her department have been successful.

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs and rural redevelopment Lydia Johnson says measures put in place to address challenges faced by her department have been successful.

Johnson was addressing hundreds of residents at Blaaubosch in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, at Arbor Day celebrations on Friday.

The department was previously riddled with corruption that is said to have resulted in the resignation of its former head Jabulani Mjwara, and chief financial officer Petrus Mahlangu.

This after the two failed to account for more than R80million.

"The image of the department has improved drastically after efforts to turn it around were put in place," Johndon said

"What we did was to re-enforce the manpower and it seems to be working. We are now able to focus on the core function of the department, which is to ensure, among other things, food security and rural development," said Johnson.

"It's a given that the majority of the people in our province are food insecure, meaning they are hungry, but we are of the view that agriculture is the answer to social and environmental challenges, including job creation.

"This is why we encourage the notion of one home, one garden, but are extending it to one home, one garden and two trees."

She said that not only would planting trees save the environment, but it would also help "green the province".

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