Food security and agriculture

national context in food security and agriculture image

● The 2017 national budget for agriculture, rural development and land reform remained steady, at
R26 billion.
● According to agricultural industry association, AgriSA, South Africa remains a nett food exporter
despite having been severely affected by drought since 2015. The value of the country’s agricultural
exports was R83 billion in 2015/16.
● The General Household Survey, 2016 shows that the proportion of South African households with
inadequate or severely inadequate access to food decreased, from 24% in 2010, to 22% in 2016.
During the same period, the proportion of households that skipped a meal halved, from 24%, to 12%.
The percentage of the population that was food insecure or vulnerable to hunger fell from 29% in
2002, to 13% in 2015. Most of the decline occurred from 2002 to 2007.
● According to the same survey, only 15% of South African households were involved in agricultural
production. Of this 15%, most (93%) had created backyard gardens.
● Based on the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Quarter 2: 2017, the number of people employed in the
agricultural sector increased by 1%, from 825 000 in June 2016, to 835 000 in June 2017.
● Stats SA data from 2013 showed that the hunger rate for school-goers was 13%. South Africa’s
National School Nutrition Programme, administered by the Department of Basic Education, is
currently targeting this group by providing daily meals to learners in poorer schools. In 2014/15, the
programme fed an estimated 9.2 million learners in 19 800 schools across the country.
● According to Trading Economics, South Africa’s food inflation averaged 7% from 2009 until 2017.
Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development, 2001
This document builds on the 1997 White Paper on Land Policy that sought to help reverse the injustices
of the past and encourage economic growth. It serves as the policy framework document for the
Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development sub-programme, which seeks to contribute to the
redistribution of 30% of the country’s agricultural land over 15 years; improve nutrition and the income of
rural poor who want to farm on any scale; decongest overcrowded former homeland areas; and expand
opportunities for women and young people who stay in rural areas. Land issues remain a major concern
and, in 2012, the government released a discussion document on land reform policy.
Policy for the Small-scale Fisheries Sector in South Africa, 2012
This policy recognises that artisanal fishers were excluded from the long-term rights allocation process
under the General Policy on the Allocation and Management of Long-term Fishing Rights of 2005, and the
effect this had on small-scale fishing communities. It provides a mechanism for allocating fishing rights
and equitable access to small-scale fishing communities.
National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security, 2013
The goal of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security is to ensure the availability, accessibility
and affordability of safe and nutritious food at national and household levels. It builds on the national
Integrated Food Security Strategy that was approved by cabinet in 2002 to eradicate hunger, malnutrition
and food insecurity by 2015. However, a global economic slowdown, increased food price volatility and the
impact of climate change necessitated the review of the strategy and development of a comprehensive
National Food and Nutrition Security policy. 
The policy identifies various pillars of ensuring food and nutrition security, which include building effective food assistance networks, improving nutrition education, aligning investments in agriculture towards local economic development, improving market participation of the emerging agricultural sector
through public-private partnerships and investing in food and nutrition security risk management.
Integrated Agriculture Development Finance Policy Framework for Smallholder Farmers, 2015
The goal of this policy framework is to integrate various types of agricultural finance for smallholder
farmers, offered by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). This framework also
provides the context within which DAFF can develop a future development finance policy for the
agricultural sector in South Africa.
● Rural food security initiatives, particularly self-sustaining food gardens and agricultural training, are
in line with government’s focus on rural development. These projects have the potential to impact
poverty alleviation.
● It is worth considering supplementing school feeding schemes with the establishment of food
gardens, which can be used to supply the scheme and to increase awareness and skills around
growing vegetables. These gardens also have the potential to raise the profile of agricultural sciences
as a career for young people.
● Getting fresh fruit and vegetables from community gardens and smallholder farms to market
(whether formal or within the community) is an important link in the sustainability of small farmers
that deserves more attention and support.
● Water access and quality need to be considered as part of small-scale farming interventions. Lowtech
irrigation ideas, such as rainwater harvesting, have an impressive impact on yield, and education
is required in this regard.
● There is a critical need for emerging farmers to be trained in business management skills and to set
up networks through, for example, web-connected IT centres, for farmers to access market data and
share information.

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