Food Security in South Africa
The Hungry Season

© Andile Bhala
Food Security is about more than farming. Urban Food Security is an issue concerned with the urban poor's ability to access food.
When the term 'food security' gets thrown into the conversation, people immediately start talking about agriculture: how much are we producing every season; how do we deal with land reform to keep commercial farmers in the game; how do we get skills to subsistence farmers; can our urban poor feed themselves by growing their own lettuces and cabbages; how is climate change going to redraw the agricultural map of Southern Africa in terms of what we can grow, and when we can grow it?

These are all vital questions. But they are only a small part of the much broader issue of what Food Security means. Food Security is about so much more than just how much food we grow. 'Urban Food Security is the emerging development issue of this century', argues the African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN) - 'Food Security strategies of the urban poor, and how these are thwarted or enabled by markets, governments, civil society and donors, are critical to the future stability and quality of life in African cities.'

The growing urban landscape poses unique challenges to human development. Around the world, cities have voracious appetites, sucking up by far the lion's share of resources used globally, and spewing out most of the global waste. This rate of consumption is not going to slow down as urbanisation continues to ratchet itself up. Cities in the developing world are expected to swell by threefold between 2000 and 2030 (from 200 000 square kilometres to 600 000 square kilometres, according to the World Bank).

SouthAfrica.co.za wades into this noisy, messy, polluted, insatiable cityscape and attempts to face some of the largely under-reported questions on what food means in this time of unprecedented urban expansion, particularly from the perspective of poor, domestic urban families.By Leonie Joubert

Climate Change and Food Security

A changing climate means we have to change the way we live. In terms of food security, climate change has effects on what we can grow and when, our access to water and our exposure diseases through food....more

Food in the Modern World

What food means to us in today’s world is very different to what it meant hundreds of years ago. Industrialisation changed the way we grow, process, package and consume food. For most people living in cities food...more

Food Security and Agriculture

So far, there has been a bias towards thinking that food security is only about production, so when policy makers think about how to address food insecurity, it is invariably the departments of agriculture or water affairs that get handed the issue....more

Food Security Explained

Food Security is a global issue that affects not only the poorest of the poor but everyday urban inhabitants. Between growing populations flocking to cities and instability in weather patterns and the economy...more

Food Wastage

There are people going hungry all around us. We see them on city streets and rummaging through garbage in suburban neighbourhoods. One may assume there simply isn’t enough food to go around, but this is not necessarily the case....more

Ill Health and Nutrition

When people are food insecure it means they do not have access to enough food (or the right kind of food) to keep their bodies healthy. People who do not have proper nutrition are more susceptible to running into problems like malnutrition and obesity....more

Living Below the Breadline

Many people in South Africa, both in rural and urban areas, live on the side of poverty that has them unable to access a reliable stream of sufficient and nutritious food....more

Making Food Choices

There are many factors that influence the way we make decisions. When it comes to food, our cultural backgrounds, financial status and wiring of the brain all play a part in choosing what to eat and when....more

Migrant Labour

In order to make a living many people opt to leave their rural homes for cities or mines where they can earn an income to send back to their waiting families. This is the reality of migrant labour....more

Nutrition in Early Childhood Development

It is important for children to get the right nutrients while in the womb and into early childhood in order for them to grow into healthy, well-developed adults....more

Real Life Stories of Impoverished Communities

There are various communities in South Africa that suffer from malnutrition, caused by a range of socio-economic issues. Every day, people are making unhealthy food choices that have a negative impact on the body and mind...more

Solutions to Food Insecurity

With people going hungry, children growing underdeveloped and obesity running rampant, it is no secret that we need to rethink the way we handle food....more