Policy Briefs

Food Security

Measurement of food security in South Africa.
01 March 2013

The right to food is enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of South Africa (GOSA, 1996) and has been a key priority of all post – apartheid administrations since 1994. This commitment is aligned to the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the number of people who are hungry in South Africa and to the government’s commitment to reducing poverty by 50% between 2004 and 2014. Achieving household level food and nutrition security is critical to realising these goals (GOSA, 2010).

South Africa is considered food secure as a country in that it produces sufficient amounts of staple foods and has the ability to import foods where required, to meet the nutritional needs of the population. However evidence suggests that at a household level, large number of households are food and nutritionally insecure (Jacobs, 2009) and the extent of food insecurity is incomplete mainly as a result of lack of quality data and the lack of an accepted definition of food insecurity in South Africa (Altman, 2009; Hart, 2009).