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Stellenbosch University (2018)

Food security and climate change : The role of subsistence agriculture in Genadendal, Western Cape of South Africa

Da Costa, Charissa

Titre : Food security and climate change : The role of subsistence agriculture in Genadendal, Western Cape of South Africa

Auteur : Da Costa, Charissa

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2018

Résumé partiel
Food security consists of four dimensions namely, availability, access, utilisation and stability as defined by the FAO. Subsistence agriculture has the potential to supplement household food security. It can increase the amount and diversity of food that is available for consumption (i.e. food availability and utilisation). Income generated through the sale of produce can be used to access additional food (i.e. food access). Stability in production can ensure that household food security remains stable (i.e. food stability). However, subsistence farmers are particularly vulnerable to climate-related hazards such as droughts, floods and extreme temperatures. With appropriate adaptation responses, households who practice subsistence agriculture can be supported in dealing with climate-related hazards. The extensive history of Genadendal in the Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa shows that food insecurity was a common occurrence in the past, despite efforts made to develop subsistence agriculture. The Overberg District Municipality is currently vulnerable to food insecurity in the face of climate change due to impacts on crops and livestock. Households of Genadendal have low levels of income, a high dependency ratio and low levels of formal education which can exacerbate their food insecurity. The present study aimed to investigate the role of subsistence agriculture in achieving food security in a changing climate in Genadendal by analysing (1) changes in the historical climate using meteorological data and perceptions of subsistence farmers ; (2) the impact of climate-related hazards on the dimensions of food security of subsistence farmers ; and (3) adaptation responses used by subsistence farmers to overcome the impacts of climate-related hazards. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was used, although qualitative methods formed the bulk of the study. Three meteorological datasets were analysed quantitatively to determine changes in Genadendal’s rainfall from 1960 and minimum and maximum temperature from 1993. Qualitative data were obtained from semi-structured interviews with twenty-three subsistence farmers.

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