Annual Reports


joint publications

The right to food of students in tertiary institutions in South Africa

The right to food in South Africa is recognised and guaranteed in various laws at the international regional and national level. Access to adequate food is a serious challenge across the globe, leading to hunger and malnutrition. Currently, 1 in 8 people worldwide go hungry every day. In 2015, the international community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the second of which is to end hunger by 2030 and ensure that no one anywhere in the world is hungry or malnourished. Although South Africa is striving to meet the SDGs, hunger remains pervasive, with millions of people in the...

read
What price cheap goods? Survivalists, informalists and competition in the township retail grocery trade

About 54% of South Africa’s township microenterprises trade in food or drink. More than two-thirds of these are grocery retail businesses in the form of spaza shops and smaller ‘house shops’. These are the predominant businesses within the ‘township economy’ and play an important role in food security, self-employment and community cohesion. In the last decade, the business of spaza shops (dedicated, signposted businesses with a range of foodstuffs and open five days per week or more) has undergone extensive change towards a new class of entrepreneurial traders – mostly foreign nationals. This change has meant that the sector...

read
Effects of different souring methods on the protein quality and iron and zinc bioaccessibilities of non‐alcoholic beverages from sorghum and amaranth

Souring by lactic acid fermentation and lactic acid acidification as well as inclusion of amaranth were explored as ways of improving the protein quality and iron and zinc bioaccessibilities of non‐alcoholic sorghum‐based beverages. The bioaccessible iron and zinc increased by 128–372%, 24–194%, respectively, in the fermented and chemically acidified beverages compared to the beverages without fermentation or acidification. The protein digestibility, reactive lysine, and bioaccessible iron in sorghum‐amaranth beverages increased by 14–58%, 24–52% and 34–64%, respectively, compared with the 100% sorghum beverages. Both fermentation and acidification with lactic acid have the potentials for improving the nutritional quality of cereal‐based...

read

policy briefs


working papers

A Food Charter for the Western Cape? A Critical Inquiry and Scoping Study

The idea of a food charter has been proposed in several fora by diverse organisations and individuals for several years as one potentially effective tool for addressing food system challenges in South Africa. This working paper undertakes a critical inquiry into what a charter means, historically, both internationally and nationally, the subsequent proliferation of ‘food charters’ in the ‘global north’, South Africa’s special relationship with charters, and finally their connection or lack thereof to the various proposals to undertake a food charter locally. The paper unravels some of the influences as well as presumptions about what a food charter...

read
Multilevel Government, Municipalities and Food Security

Realising the right to food in South Africa requires more than an increase in food production. Increasing access to food is equally important, so this contribution adopts a ‘food systems approach’. It argues that food security is not just a national and/or provincial government concern but that the Constitution demands of municipalities to contribute to realising the right to food. Against the backdrop of a general introduction into the division of responsibilities between national, provincial and local government, it deploys two arguments to make this assertion. The first is located in the jurisprudence of the South African Constitutional Court...

read
School Feeding in South Africa: What we know, what we don’t know, what we need to know, what we need to do

This working paper draws on the proceedings of a ‘National Workshop on School Feeding in South Africa’, convened in November 2017 by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security. Workshop participants engaged with unresolved debates in school feeding, notably its objectives and impacts, which include food security and nutrition, education access and outcomes, intergenerational poverty reduction, employment creation and support to local agriculture. In South Africa, the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) currently provides meals to over 9 million learners. The NSNP has two other pillars – Nutrition Education and Deworming, and Sustainable Food Production – but 96%...

read

Research Reports

SUPERMARKETS, STREET TRADERS AND SPAZA SHOPS: SPATIAL DETERMINANTS OF FORMAL RETAILERS’ IMPACT ON INFORMAL MICRO-ENTERPRISES IN PHILIPPI, CAPE TOWN

There is growing concern around the impact of formal retailers and supermarkets, in particular on marginalised urban communities in developing countries. This report unpacks the impact of formal retailers on informal micro-enterprises through a case study in Philippi East township, Cape Town. The cases focuses on a high street precinct which encompasses a number of formal food retailers and supermarkets. Supermarkets are the main supply of household food (in value terms), with residents spending about one third of their food purchases at one of three outlets.

read
THE DETERMINANTS OF STUNTING AT AGE TWO: A HOLISTIC MODEL FOR SOUTH AFRICA USING THE BIRTH TO TWENTY COHORT STUDY

In this report, we examine the determinants of child malnutrition using the Birth to Twenty data, a cohort study of children born in Soweto-Johannesburg in 1990. In particular, we focus on the causes of low height-for-age, or stunting, at age two, the measure most commonly used to capture chronic undernutrition in children. The consequences of stunting in early childhood have been widely studied across various disciplines, and include impaired cognitive function, poor schooling outcomes, reduced earnings in adulthood and poor maternal reproductive health outcomes (Walker, Chang, Powell & Grantham-McGregor, 2005; Victora et al. 2008; Dewey & Begum, 2011).

read

joint publications

The right to food of students in tertiary institutions in South Africa

The right to food in South Africa is recognised and guaranteed in various laws at the international regional and national level. Access to adequate food is a serious challenge across the globe, leading to hunger and malnutrition. Currently, 1 in 8 people worldwide go hungry every day. In 2015, the international community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the second of which is to end hunger by 2030 and ensure that no one anywhere in the world is hungry or malnourished. Although South Africa is striving to meet the SDGs, hunger remains pervasive, with millions of people in the...

read
What price cheap goods? Survivalists, informalists and competition in the township retail grocery trade

About 54% of South Africa’s township microenterprises trade in food or drink. More than two-thirds of these are grocery retail businesses in the form of spaza shops and smaller ‘house shops’. These are the predominant businesses within the ‘township economy’ and play an important role in food security, self-employment and community cohesion. In the last decade, the business of spaza shops (dedicated, signposted businesses with a range of foodstuffs and open five days per week or more) has undergone extensive change towards a new class of entrepreneurial traders – mostly foreign nationals. This change has meant that the sector...

read
Effects of different souring methods on the protein quality and iron and zinc bioaccessibilities of non‐alcoholic beverages from sorghum and amaranth

Souring by lactic acid fermentation and lactic acid acidification as well as inclusion of amaranth were explored as ways of improving the protein quality and iron and zinc bioaccessibilities of non‐alcoholic sorghum‐based beverages. The bioaccessible iron and zinc increased by 128–372%, 24–194%, respectively, in the fermented and chemically acidified beverages compared to the beverages without fermentation or acidification. The protein digestibility, reactive lysine, and bioaccessible iron in sorghum‐amaranth beverages increased by 14–58%, 24–52% and 34–64%, respectively, compared with the 100% sorghum beverages. Both fermentation and acidification with lactic acid have the potentials for improving the nutritional quality of cereal‐based...

read
Organic Food Systems Meeting the Needs of Southern Africa

Organic agriculture world-wide allows farmers to produce healthy food with low levels of external inputs, and often shortens the value chains, giving farmers a higher share of the consumer dollar. This book reports on long-term comparative organic farming systems research trials carried out over the last four years in South Africa’s Southern Cape, as well as research on the organic sector and the technical tools it requires in South Africa, Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania. The trials show how the yield gap between organic and conventional crops was closed over 3 years. Water use efficiency was also greater in the...

read
Foaming properties of total zein, total kafirin and pre-gelatinized maize starch blends at alkaline pH

The effect of 0.1 M NaOH as a solvent and blending with pre-gelatinized maize starch on the foaming properties of laboratory extracted total zein and total kafirin were determined. Both total zein and total kafirin in 0.1 M NaOH were found to have higher foaming capacity (up to 118% foam volume increase) compared to their non-foaming (0% foam volume increase) properties in water. Blending with pre-gelatinized maize starch reduced the foam volume but increased the foam stability to more than 24 h. Total zein and total zein-pre-gelatinized starch blends had relatively higher foaming capacity than total kafirin and total kafirin-pre-gelatinized starch blends...

read
Food fermentation and mycotoxin detoxification: An African perspective

Mycotoxins are toxigenic fungal secondary metabolites and known carcinogens that pose a significant threat to economies, trade, health and compromises food safety. Favourable environmental conditions on the African continent encourage the proliferation of fungal species, increasing the possibility of attendant mycotoxins to be present in foods, a situation that aggravates challenges to address them. Due to the susceptibility of common food crops to these toxins and the general inability of some conventional food processes to eliminate them, they are found in derived/processed foods. Detoxification and reduction of mycotoxins in the food chain still remains a significant topic necessitating a...

read
Assessment of nutritional and phytochemical quality of Dawadawa (an African fermented condiment) produced from Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea)

This study investigated the nutritional composition, antinutrients and phenolic composition of raw, hulled and dehulled Bambara groundnuts (BGN) (Vigna subterranea) and their derived dawadawa products. Phenolic compounds were investigated using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC/Q-TOF-MS) system while determination of amino acids and mineral contents were done using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), respectively. Oxalate, tannin and phytic acids were quantified while microstructure of the samples was viewed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Results showed a decrease in quinic acid, medioresinol and quercetin-3-O-galactoside-7-O-rhamnoside in all dawadawa samples. Likewise, significant (p ≤ 0.05) increases were observed...

read
Dynamic Oral Texture Properties of Selected Indigenous Complementary Porridges Used in African Communities

Child malnutrition remains a major public health problem in low-income African communities, caused by factors including the low nutritional value of indigenous/local complementary porridges (CP) fed to infants and young children. Most African children subsist on locally available starchy foods, whose oral texture is not well-characterized in relation to their sensorimotor readiness. The sensory quality of CP affects oral processing (OP) abilities in infants and young children. Unsuitable oral texture limits nutrient intake, leading to protein-energy malnutrition. The perception of the oral texture of selected African CPs (n = 13, Maize, Sorghum, Cassava, Orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), Cowpea, and Bambara)...

read
Pasting, flow, thermal and molecular properties of maize starch modified with crude phenolic extracts from grape pomace and sorghum bran under alkaline conditions

This study determined the effects of phenolic extracts from grape pomace and sorghum bran, reaction time and washing with aqueous ethanol on the pasting, flow, thermal and molecular properties of maize starch. The starch modification was carried out under alkaline conditions. The phenolic extracts increased the peak viscosity of the starch. Reaction time had no significant effect on starch properties. Washing with aqueous ethanol significantly increased the peak, final, and setback viscosities of the phenolic modified maize starches. DSC of phenolic modified starches showed higher enthalpy (ΔH) before and after washing with aqueous ethanol in comparison with starch without...

read

working papers

A Food Charter for the Western Cape? A Critical Inquiry and Scoping Study

The idea of a food charter has been proposed in several fora by diverse organisations and individuals for several years as one potentially effective tool for addressing food system challenges in South Africa. This working paper undertakes a critical inquiry into what a charter means, historically, both internationally and nationally, the subsequent proliferation of ‘food charters’ in the ‘global north’, South Africa’s special relationship with charters, and finally their connection or lack thereof to the various proposals to undertake a food charter locally. The paper unravels some of the influences as well as presumptions about what a food charter...

read
Multilevel Government, Municipalities and Food Security

Realising the right to food in South Africa requires more than an increase in food production. Increasing access to food is equally important, so this contribution adopts a ‘food systems approach’. It argues that food security is not just a national and/or provincial government concern but that the Constitution demands of municipalities to contribute to realising the right to food. Against the backdrop of a general introduction into the division of responsibilities between national, provincial and local government, it deploys two arguments to make this assertion. The first is located in the jurisprudence of the South African Constitutional Court...

read
School Feeding in South Africa: What we know, what we don’t know, what we need to know, what we need to do

This working paper draws on the proceedings of a ‘National Workshop on School Feeding in South Africa’, convened in November 2017 by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security. Workshop participants engaged with unresolved debates in school feeding, notably its objectives and impacts, which include food security and nutrition, education access and outcomes, intergenerational poverty reduction, employment creation and support to local agriculture. In South Africa, the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) currently provides meals to over 9 million learners. The NSNP has two other pillars – Nutrition Education and Deworming, and Sustainable Food Production – but 96%...

read
Accountability and the right to food: A comparative study of India and South Africa

It remains a great source of concern that, as richly endowed as the world is, each day millions of people go to sleep hungry and almost 870 million people, particularly in developing countries, are chronically undernourished. Also, every year, 6 million children die, directly or indirectly, from the consequences of undernourishment and malnutrition – that is, 1 child every 5 seconds. The international community at various forums in the last twenty years or so have committed to ending undernourishment in the world. The right to adequate food is guaranteed in a number of international and regional human rights instruments....

read
Food security and nutrition: Impure, complex and wicked?

By Julian May, October 2017 Food security and nutrition are receiving renewed attention in international and national policy agendas. This has been accompanied by a profusion of theoretical concepts borrowed from diverse disciplines and then employed to describe challenges to achieving food security and adequate nutrition. Complex eco-systems, wicked problems and public goods are among these.  In order to make a constructive contribution to policy debate, the underlying political economy of food security is interrogated to understand why food security problems may be indeterminate. This reveals food to be an outcome from a complex problem-determined food eco-system. The problems...

read
Why does malnutrition persist in South Africa despite social grants?

According to most subjective and self-reported indicators, food security in South Africa is improving over time.  However, objectively measured anthropometric indicators record only a marginal improvement in children’s nutrition status since the early 1990s. This is despite the introduction in 1998 and subsequent expansion of the Child Support Grant, which now reaches over 11 million children in South Africa and has been found to increase food consumption and dietary diversity in poor households. How can this paradox be explained? This paper reviews the evidence on food security and child nutrition trends in South Africa and identifies several reasons why...

read

Research Reports

SUPERMARKETS, STREET TRADERS AND SPAZA SHOPS: SPATIAL DETERMINANTS OF FORMAL RETAILERS’ IMPACT ON INFORMAL MICRO-ENTERPRISES IN PHILIPPI, CAPE TOWN

There is growing concern around the impact of formal retailers and supermarkets, in particular on marginalised urban communities in developing countries. This report unpacks the impact of formal retailers on informal micro-enterprises through a case study in Philippi East township, Cape Town. The cases focuses on a high street precinct which encompasses a number of formal food retailers and supermarkets. Supermarkets are the main supply of household food (in value terms), with residents spending about one third of their food purchases at one of three outlets.

read
THE DETERMINANTS OF STUNTING AT AGE TWO: A HOLISTIC MODEL FOR SOUTH AFRICA USING THE BIRTH TO TWENTY COHORT STUDY

In this report, we examine the determinants of child malnutrition using the Birth to Twenty data, a cohort study of children born in Soweto-Johannesburg in 1990. In particular, we focus on the causes of low height-for-age, or stunting, at age two, the measure most commonly used to capture chronic undernutrition in children. The consequences of stunting in early childhood have been widely studied across various disciplines, and include impaired cognitive function, poor schooling outcomes, reduced earnings in adulthood and poor maternal reproductive health outcomes (Walker, Chang, Powell & Grantham-McGregor, 2005; Victora et al. 2008; Dewey & Begum, 2011).

read

Journal Article & book chapter links

2020-03-10, Book Chapters
Child poverty and hunger in South Africa

Author Sambu, W. and Hall, K.,

, Book Chapters
Systems thinking to reduce groundnut aflatoxin exposure

Author De Bruin,W.,

2020-03-09, Book Chapters
Impact of global food and agriculture laws on Africa’s food security

Publication Scielo South Africa