Food security in SA declining - study

Pretoria - More than half of South Africans do not have regular access to enough food, according to a study released by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on Tuesday.

Overall, 45.6% of the population were food secure, said Professor Demetre Labadarios.

He was speaking at the release of the SA national health and nutrition examination survey - also known as SANHANES-1 - in Pretoria.

The HSRC defines food security as access to food by all members of a household at all times, to enough food for an active and healthy life.


The food trends status in South Africa is classified under three sections - food secure, at risk of hunger, and experiencing hunger.

"Measuring food security is not easy," Labadarios said.

"On a total national level, two out four households in the country are food secure, that is 45.6%.

"Regarding the food insecure, which is those that experience hunger, one out of four households experience hunger. The Western Cape, Gauteng, and the Northern Cape have low levels [of food insecurity] in comparison to other provinces."

Labadarios said that while 26% of the population experienced hunger, 28.6% were living at the risk of being hungry.

The number of citizens living "at the risk of hunger" had risen from 25% in the previous survey in 2008.

According to the 2012 study, the Eastern Cape, followed by Limpopo, had the highest numbers of citizens experiencing food insecurity. Food security was at its highest in the Western Cape.

In comparison to the social attitudes survey done in 2008, national food security had declined from 48% to 45.6%.

The SANHANES-1 survey was compiled by a research consortium comprising the HSRC and the Medical Research Council, and was financed by the health department and the United Kingdom department for international development.

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