Journal Articles

Seasonal Food Insecurity among Farm Workers in the Northern Cape, South Africa

Very little is known about seasonal hunger in South Africa, or about the food security and nutritional status of farm workers. This article identifies a pathway to seasonal hunger—through intra-annual fluctuations in agricultural employment and income—that is underanalyzed in the literature. We report on findings from a year-long data collection process, comprising baseline and endline surveys and monthly monitoring of three food security indicators, with a sample of 195 female farm workers in the Northern Cape province in South Africa. The three monthly monitoring indicators—the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS), Dietary Diversity Score (DDS), and Coping Strategies Index (CSI)—which measure different aspects of food insecurity, are analyzed to determine whether and to what extent food security fluctuates seasonally in our sample. HFIAS results show unambiguous evidence of seasonal food insecurity, with the highest prevalence (88 percent experiencing severe food insecurity) and severity during the low employment winter period, and lowest prevalence (49 percent) and severity during the summer harvest, which corresponds with relatively higher employment and earnings. The DDS results show evidence of highest dietary diversity during summer and the CSI results reveal the need to employ coping strategies to deal with intensified food insecurity during winter



related Publications

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 ...

Book Chapters
Food insecurity and famine

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 ...