Food Security Amongst Urban Households

2015. In S. Fukudu-Parr and V. Taylor (eds.), Food Security in South Africa: Human Rights and Entitlement Perspectives (Cape Town: UCT Press), pp. 97-119.

The right to food is guaranteed in South Africa’s Constitution as it is in international law. Yet food insecurity remains widespread and persistent, at levels much higher than in countries with similar levels of per capita GDP and development, such as Brazil.

In this book, leading local and international researchers on food security and related policy work have come together to create the first systematic and trans-disciplinary analysis of food security and its multiple dimensions in South Africa and the southern African region. Drawing on Amartya Sen’s entitlement theory to identify the key drivers of hunger, they see food insecurity as a chronic, structurally based condition rather than only resulting from natural environmental disasters, temporary economic shocks and household vulnerabilities.

The authors focus on a range of policy options and choices to provide short-term and longer-term solutions to the systemic causes of unemployment, failing rural livelihoods and traditional subsistence production. They also emphasise the linkages between the social and economic dimensions of food insecurity and use an integrative, interdisciplinary approach to analyse the reasons why these conditions persist and what can be done to address them.

Importantly the book brings together work undertaken at local and national levels in new ways so that policy-makers, researchers, human rights advocates and social and economic scholars are better able to make the links between macro- and micro-processes of development.

Jane Battersby