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University of Zululand (2018)

Analysis of institutional gaps that contribute to the situation of food insecurity in uThungulu, Northern KwaZulu-Natal

Masuku, Mandla Mfundo

Titre : Analysis of institutional gaps that contribute to the situation of food insecurity in uThungulu, Northern KwaZulu-Natal

Auteur : Masuku, Mandla Mfundo

Université de soutenance : University of Zululand

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Development Studies 2018

This study analyses the effects of institutional gaps on food security in rural households in the uThungulu District of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The study found that inadequate access to and low production of food was common in poor households. When compared to other African countries, the South African Government is seen to have established sound policies aimed at eradicating food insecurity in historically disadvantaged communities, inter alia, by reprioritising public spending. However, these policies have not been well implemented, resulting in an increase in the number of food-insecure people in the country, irrespective of food availability. In this study, participants comprised community members aged 20 years and above (n=147), nine key informants and focus groups (n=11). Questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions were used to obtain data related to the institutional gaps that contributed to food insecurity. Both content and statistical analysis was used to realise the study objectives. The results of the study showed that participants had to contend with numerous challenges in sustaining their community development projects towards achieving food security and received only limited support from various institutions. In general, communities with a poor socio-economic profile are vulnerable to food insecurity because their low status denies them access to credit provision, skills and information. In the uThungulu District, agriculture was widely practised as a strategy to eradicate food insecurity : crop farming particularly, in the form of community and home gardens, was undertaken, but very few participants engaged in livestock farming. The study revealed that the issue of land access and ownership compromised rural production. Rural business people had inadequate knowledge of how to participate and compete in the market. The study’s results also showed that local municipalities’ services were often politically aligned and politicians as heads of institutions made poor, top-down decisions that did not meet the needs of poor people. Local municipalities were mostly dependent on governmental funding which was limited. Furthermore, governmental institutions themselves were faced with challenges, including inadequate staff, capacity and skills to serve communities satisfactorily. The study concluded that while South Africa as a nation was food secure, households – particularly in rural areas – were not yet free from food insecurity. Food in/security is a multi-sectoral issue that needs to be tackled by all institutions and sectors and should not be aligned with the agricultural sector only. It is recommended that the government should improve food security policies, determine methods of financing rural entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers and expand the institutions committed to rural food security programmes. It also needs to provide training in entrepreneurial skills and assist and empower poor people to adopt modern farming practices which include intensifying livestock production. Policies and strategies to alleviate food insecurity need to be analysed and improved as a matter of urgency. Further research should investigate and monitor the implementation of food security interventions in rural areas.


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