The Status of Household Food Security Targets in South Africaby JACOBS, P, 2009
Agrekon, 48:4, 410-433
Jacobs investigates the conceptual and methodological challenges to develop a set of baseline indicators for South African food security targets. A food security target is a well-defined and measurable goal to reduce the numbers of people who lack enough food of the right quality to live healthy lives. To derive baseline indicators for household food security, the following question is asked: what is the average cost of a nutritionally adequate food basket per person? The cost of recommended nutrient intake is based on estimates of dietary energy costs. Reported food expenditure for each household based on 2005/2006 Income and Expenditure Survey data gets compared to two dietary energy cost baskets. The food expenditure shares of the poorest households vary between 38% and 71% according to different surveys. At food expenditure levels reported in the IES, one in five households meet their average dietary energy cost. Deep levels of food insecurity exist in rural areas with 85% of rural households unable to afford even the ‘below average dietary energy costs’. Food security policy based on refined baseline indicators can better target food insecure households. Another policy benefit is that robust indicators help to develop effective monitoring capabilities.