Food security

South Africa’s food security conundrum

This food security paradox was explained by agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo in an article published in the Daily Maverick.

In a review of South Africa’s agricultural performance over the past 30 years, he said the increase in agricultural output was the reason why the country ranked 59th out of 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index, making it the most food-secure in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“However, it is essential to note that the lack of access to food that most South Africans face is due to the income poverty challenge rather than lack of availability due to low agricultural output, as is the case in other parts of Africa. In essence, we need to ensure that there is employment and that households have sufficient income.”

Sihlobo said the Global Food Security Index balances the four elements of affordability, availability, quality and safety at a broad national level. 

“South Africa produces enough food to fill the shelves of supermarkets with high-quality products but still has a long way to go in addressing household food insecurity, as many households cannot afford the food that is available in a way that meets their nutritional demands,” he said.