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Hunger in the former apartheid homelands: Determinants of converging food security 100 years after the 1913 Land Act

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  • Louw Pienaar

    ()
    (Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Elsenburg)

  • Dieter von Fintel

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

One hundred years after the implementation of the 1913 Land Act, the subject of land reform and rural development are still at the forefront of public discourse within South Africa. Much of the literature suggests that post-apartheid interventions have not been successful at improving small-scale agriculture, which is seen as an important vehicle for improving rural food security. Nevertheless, data from the General Household Survey indicate that household food security has improved in the post-2000 decade. In particular, this paper demonstrates that hunger levels have declined substantially since 2002 (as other estimates of poverty have also indicated), but more importantly that they have done so faster in former homelands regions. Using linear probability models, this paper seeks to isolate which factors have led to the convergence of homeland regions’ hunger levels to the rest of the country. The historical context that is sketched here highlights the severe challenges faced by farmers in these areas; this raises the question how convergence in food security occurred, given that many agricultural interventions have not attained the success that was hoped for. In particular, the large reliance on social grants in homelands regions accounts for a part of the reduction in hunger levels. Communal gardens and connections to the agricultural market have reduced hunger within former homelands regions. The long-term sustainability of grants in bolstering food security is of concern, highlighting the need for greater market integration of small scale farmers in homeland regions.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2013/wp262013/wp-26-2013.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 26/2013.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers202

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Keywords: Food Security; Subsistence Farming; Apartheid Homelands; Social Pensions;

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References

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  1. Baiphethi, Mompati N. & Jacobs, Peter T., 2009. "The contribution of subsistence farming to food security in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 48(4), December.
  2. Servaas Van der berg & Megan Louw & Derek Yu, 2008. "Post-Transition Poverty Trends Based On An Alternative Data Source," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 76(1), pages 58-76, 03.
  3. Klasen, Stephan & Woolard, Ingrid, 2000. "Surviving Unemployment without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Jacobs, Peter T., 2009. "The status of household food security targets in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 48(4), December.
  5. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid," NBER Working Papers 11384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Pauw, Kalie, 2007. "Agriculture and poverty: Farming for food or farming for money?," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 46(2), June.
  7. Ardington, Cally & Lam, David & Leibbrandt, Murray & Welch, Matthew, 2006. "The sensitivity to key data imputations of recent estimates of income poverty and inequality in South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 822-835, September.
  8. Altman, M. & Hart, Tim G.B. & Jacobs, Peter T., 2009. "Household food security status in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 48(4), December.
  9. Alain de Janvry, 2010. "Agriculture for development: new paradigm and options for success," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(s1), pages 17-36, November.
  10. Stefan Dercon, 2009. "Rural Poverty: Old Challenges in New Contexts," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 1-28, April.
  11. Vink, Nick & van Rooyen, Johan, 2009. "Perspectives on the Performance of Agriculture in South Africa since 1994 and implications for its Role in Achieving Sustainable Food Security," Working Papers 108005, University of Pretoria, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.
  12. John Essa & W Lieb Nieuwoudt, 2003. "Socio-economic dimensions of small-scale agriculture: A principal component analysis," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 67-73.
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