Book Chapters

Social grants, remittances, and food security: does the source of income matter?

Large numbers of South Africans receive social grants (public transfers) or remittances (private transfers), and yet one in four South Africans is food insecure. The purpose of this paper is to address two questions: do social grants and remittances improve food security and nutritional outcomes? If so, do these impacts differ between public and private transfers? Drawing on the National Income Dynamic Survey (NIDS), South Africa’s first nationally representative survey that follows more than 28,000 individuals over time, we found significant and positive impacts of the Older Person’s Grant and of remittances on the dietary diversity index, but not of the Child Support Grant. Moreover, we found no effect on food expenditure or on anthropometry (BMI) by the Older Person’s Grant, or remittances. However, some positive effects were found on children’s BMI from the Child Support Grant. We discuss why we observe different effects from different transfers, as well as giving several reasons why income transfers are failing to close the nutritional deficits in South Africa.

related Publications

Food Systems Profile – South Africa: Catalysing the sustainable and inclusive transformation of food systems

Year of publication: 2022 Place of publication: Rome, Italy; Brussels, Belgium; Montpellier, France; Pages: #50 p. ISBN: 978-92-5-136209-9 Author: FAO, European Union, CIRAD By Country/Territory: South Africa Publisher: FAO; European Union ; CIRAD; Agrovoc: food systems; food consumption; sustainability; South Africa Abstract: Food systems are intimately linked to our ...


Policy Briefs
Civil society organisations: CSOs should have a central role in food governance

This policy brief explores the role that civil society organisations can play in addressing food security, building on its contributions during the COVID-19 lockdowns. (Colour version.) Click here to download a low-resolution, black and white version of the policy brief. Centre of Excellence in Food Security · The role of civil ...

Policy Briefs
Leveraging informal trade: Governance strategies to cultivate resilient, inclusive food economies

This policy brief explores ways in which government can support the informal economy. For a black and white, printer-friendly version of the policy brief, click here. For a full-colour PDF of the policy brief, download below.