Friday, December 14, 2018

Identifying targets for household food security in South Africa

2009
Research Report. Centre for Poverty Employment and Growth, Human Sciences Research Council
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Jacobs uses South African food spending and consumption information to develop a conceptual and methodological approach for a food security target for low-income households. A food security target is a well-defined and measurable goal to reduce the number of people who lack enough food of the right quality to live healthy lives. Policies and programmes designed to reach a food security target must address the multiple and complex forces behind household food insecurity. A range of easily adjustable food security targets is needed to guide policy actions. A food security target requires a clear set of baseline indicators. It must often be adjusted for specific household livelihood contexts, and consider factors such as household composition, geographic location, wealth-generating and livelihood activities, institutional dynamics and risks. The proposed methodological approach asks whether a household’s food expenditure is enough for a nutritionally adequate food basket. In 2005 the cost of the ‘average dietary energy food basket’ (2 053kcal/p/d) was R262.66 per month per person, while the cost of the ‘below-average’ basket (1 554kcal/p/d) was R189.25. High proportions of rural and urban households report food spending levels below these estimated dietary energy costs. The result that only 1 in 5 households can afford the average dietary energy costs appears consistent with recent surveys on micro-nutrient intake. Future studies need to develop the conceptual and methodological tools for more nuanced baseline information on food security

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