Evaluation of the determinants of improved food security in South Africa by 2030

Vermeulen, Cornel (2011-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.


Africa is the continent where home sapiens was born and with its worn out soils, fitful rain and rising population could very well provide a glimpse of our species’ future. The trends that are behind the current deterioration in food security go far beyond agriculture itself. South Africa is food secure at a national level and has been meeting its food needs from domestic sources in the past twenty years. However, in spite of its food secure status, 35% or 14.3 million South Africans are vulnerable to food insecurity. Food security challenges appear to be considerable against a backdrop of a South Africa being a net importer of wheat together with local cereal production that can fluctuate by up to 36% between years. It is unknown to what extend the true impact of climate change might affect this and other agricultural activity; a declining indigenous population as the HIV/AIDS pandemic takes effect; a population poorly endowed with an entitlement to gain access to sufficient food and nutrition; a dependency on oil for energy resulting in an outflow of foreign exchange, expensive agriculture and agricultural crops changed into fuel crops and markets that allocates the limited resources, but not feeding the needy poor. Considering the above, the determinants of food security for South Africa were grouped under the following headings: - Entitlement - Demography - Agriculture - Energy - Climate change - Markets. Nobody who has money to pay for food is starving therefore, given the pervasiveness of malnutrition, the money made by merchants in the food trade does seem an affront to common notions of economic justice. The economic and political point is missed when merchants are blamed for conditions that promoted huge food imports and malnutrition. Merchants are not interested in famine but in commercial markets. These merchants thrive upon a system that excludes the hungry. Recent protectionist behaviour by food export countries and the structural shift in the demand of food require South Africa to evaluate its food security determinants. South Africa requires accurate policies to guide its food security efforts towards 2030.

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