Following our establishment in 2014, we adopted an approach of targeted food security research to address the key constraints in the South African development context.
Between 2015 and 2016 we concentrated on forming an integrated research framework, moulding the initial identified key focus areas into more focussed, prioritised programmes. From 2017 - 2019, we will continue to focus on the causes (determinants), context (status quo, situation and experience of people) and consequences (impact) of food security for poor and vulnerable populations in a changing food system, and in the face of the triple burden of malnutrition and that of poverty, inequality and unemployment. We will also research the systemic and structural factors that shape food access, dietary choice, and health and nutrition outcomes, as well as the role of the survival and food security strategies, choices and decisions of poor and vulnerable people. Furthermore, we will investigate the coherence of current policy concerning food security, and the capacity to govern inter-sectoral challenges in comprehensive and coordinated ways. Finally, we will develop opportunities to contribute towards improved food security through innovation.
To address the above named issues, our research is organised through Six core Programmes that can vary in scope and complexity. In addition to the six Programmes that are directly funded by the NRF, our research also include a Programme on the Humanities and Food Insecurity funded by the Mellon Foundation, and a South Africa/United Kingdom Bilateral Research Chair in Social Protection for Food Security funded by the Newton Fund and the NRF.
The SYSTEMS programme is concerned with the structure, dynamics and influences on the South African food system and how this is changing.
Organisational and technological innovations of food systems can help maintain and improve livelihoods through enterprise development for food security.
If food is not handled, stored, distributed and prepared correctly, it can become contaminated and no longer be fit for human consumption.
The PLATES programme investigates the dietary intake of poor and vulnerable South Africans, and details the food environments that shape food preferences and choices.
The CHILDREN programme examines trends, determinants and consequences of food insecurity for mothers and children in South Africa
The POLICY programme facilitates dialogue between researchers, the community and policy makers to inform policy making and shape research.
The consumption of food is situated within the social construction of reality. Cultural and religious symbols inevitably construct and distort the ways in which food is selected, prepared and consumed.
The POLITICS Programme explores human relationships to food, the power dynamics around food production and access and the meanings that food acquires in particular cultural and social contexts.
One in five children display stunted growth. Yet since South Africa's democratic transition in 1994, social protection programmes have increased dramatically.