The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on South African food security A paradigmatic turn for building back better

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.main##

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.sidebar##

Published Aug 2, 2023
Kennedy Manduna

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8426-2918

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on South Africa’s food security, as there is a yawning scholarly gap in this nascent area. In 2020, about 23.6% of South Africans experienced moderate to severe food insecurity, while 14.9% experienced severe food insecurity. Therefore, by applying the United Nations’ Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), this paper classifies victims of food insecurity into two groups: those who experienced moderate to severe food insecurity, and those who experienced severe food insecurity. To put the impact of this insecurity into perspective, I simultaneously present and discuss the country’s food insecurity pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. Therefore, this desktop-based paper answers the following research question: How has the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the food insecurity crisis in South Africa, and what practical and resilient measures should the South African government adopt and implement to ensure sustainable food security? Findings have established that the pandemic and the measures implemented to contain it exacerbated pre-existing economic vulnerabilities and exposure among poor South Africans, particularly Black Africans. The pandemic-triggered hunger and food insecurity was thus racialised, gendered and regionalised, pointing to the structural inequalities that have characterised South Africa since colonialism and apartheid to the present day. Therefore, for sustainable and resilient food security and sovereignty, this paper recommends that Africa in general and South Africa in particular take a paradigmatic turn by designing an effective food insecurity crisis contingency plan. Doing this requires implementing a ‘Do-it-Yourself Africa’ approach in food production and distribution.

How to Cite

Manduna, K. (2023) “The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on South African food security: A paradigmatic turn for building back better”, The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Paris, France, 29(1), pp. 45–64. doi: 10.48416/ijsaf.v29i1.499.
Abstract 525 | PDF Downloads 318

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.details##

Keywords

agri-food systems, food security, food insecurity, COVID-19 pandemic, food sovereignty, South Africa, resilience

References
Bassier I, Budlender J and Zizzamia R (2021). The labour market impacts of COVID-19 in South Africa: An update with NIDS-CRAM Wave 3. NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Working Paper 3. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2.-Bassier-I.-Budlender-J.-Zizzamia-R.-2021-The-labour-market-impact-of-COVID-19-.pdf
Bridgman G, Van der Berg S and Patel L (2020) Hunger in South Africa during 2020: Results from Wave 2 of NIDS-CRAM. NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Working Paper 3. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/3.-Bridgman-G.-Van-der-Berg-S.-_-Patel-L.-2020-Hunger-in-South-Africa-during-2020-Results-from-Wave-2-of-NIDS-CRAM.pdf
Casale D and Shepherd B (2021) The gendered effects of the Covid-19 crisis and ongoing lockdown in South Africa: Evidence from NIDS-CRAM Waves 1–3. NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Working Paper 3. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/4.-Casale-D.-Shepherd-D.-2021-The-gendered-effects-of-the-Covid-19-crisis-and-ongoing-lockdown-in-South-Africa-Evidence-from-NIDS-CRAM-Waves-1-3.pdf
Chutel S (2020) South Africa’s Big Coronavirus Aid Effort Tainted by Corruption. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/19/world/africa/coronavirus-south-africa-aid-corruption.html#:~:text=As%20South%20Africans%20cope%20with,allegations%20of%20fraud%20and%20mismanagement.
Clapp J and Moseley W G (2020) This food crisis is different: COVID-19 and the fragility of the neoliberal food security order. The Journal of Peasant Studies 47(7): 1393-1417.
Daniels RC, Ingle K and Brophy T (2021) Labour market dynamics in the era of COVID-19: What we’ve learnt from NIDSCRAM & the Quarterly Labour Force Surveys (QLFS). NIDS-CRAM Working Paper Series. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/4.-Daniels-R-C.-Ingle-K.-_-Brophy-T.-2021-Labour-market-uncertainty-_-dynamics-in-the-era-of-Covid-19.pdf
Department of Labour Notice 215 (2020) COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (C19 TERS), 2020. Department of Labour. Retrieved from https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/202003/43161gen215.pdf
Department of Social Development Report (2021) The Rapid Assessment of the Implementation and Utilisation of the Special Covid-19 SRD Grant. Department of Social Development. Retrieved from https://www.dsd.gov.za/index.php/component/jdownloads/?task=download.send&id=316:the-rapid-assessment-of-the-implementation-and-utilisation-of-the-special-covid-19-srd-grant&catid=7&m=0&Itemid=101
Devereux S (2021) Social protection responses to COVID-19 in Africa. Global Social Policy 21(3): 421-447.
FAO (2020) Food Outlook: Biannual Report on Global Food Markets. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations. Retrieved from https://www.fao.org/3/ca9509en/ca9509en.pdf
Ghebreyesus TA (2020) WHO on Coronavirus Pandemic: The Worst Is Yet to Come [video]. [Cited 29 October 2022]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-lx6ZYQ_vg
Gilili C (2021) Looting, burning spreads from KZN into Johannesburg as pro-Zuma protests turn violent. Mail&Guardian. Retrieved from https://mg.co.za/news/2021-07-12-looting-burning-spreads-from-kzn-into-johannesburg-as-pro-zuma-protests-turn-violent/
Gustafsson M and Deliwe CN (2020) How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting educational quality in South Africa? Evidence to date and future risks. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Gustafsson.-Nuga.-How-is-the-COVID-19-pandemic-affecting-educational-quality-in-South-Africa_-1.pdf
Institute for Economic Justice (2020a) South Africa’s COVID-19 Emergency Rescue Report Card. Institute for Economic Justice. Retrieved from https://iej.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/IEJ-COVID-19-emergency-rescue-scorecard-finalmin.pdf.
Institute for Economic Justice. 2020b. An Emergency Rescue Package for South Africa in Response to COVID-19. Institute for Economic Justice. Retrieved from https://iej.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/IEJ-COVID-19-emergency-rescuepackage-summary.pdf.
International Labour Organization (2020) COVID-19 and the world of work. Fifth edition. ILO Monitor. 30 June 2020. Retrieved from https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/documents/briefingnote/wcms_749399.pdf
International Monetary Fund (2020) World Economic Outlook Update. Retrieved from https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2020/06/24/WEOUpdateJune2020
IOL (2020) Worst recession in 90 years expected in SA, battered by Covid-19. Independent Online. Retrieved from https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/worst-recession-in-90-yearsexpected-in-sa-battered-by-covid-19-49880492
Jain R, Budlender J, Zizzamia R and Bassier I (2020) The labor market and poverty impacts of covid-19 in South Africa. NIDS-CRAM Working Paper Series. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Jain-The-labour-market-and-poverty-impacts.pdf
Khorsandi P (2020) WFP chief warns of ‘hunger pandemic’ as Global Food Crises Report launched. World Food Programme Insight. Retrieved from https://insight.wfp.org/wfp-chief-warns-of-hunger-pandemic-as-global-food-crises-reportlaunched-3ee3edb38e47
Klassen S and Murphy S (2020) Equity as both a means and an end: Lessons for resilient food systems from COVID-19. World Development 136(105104): 1-4.
Köhler T and Bhorat H (2020) Social assistance during South Africa’s national lockdown: Examining the COVID-19 grant, changes to the Child Support Grant, and post-October policy options. NIDS-CRAM Working Paper Series. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/9.-Ko%CC%88hler-T.-_-Bhorat-H.-2020-Social-assistance-during-South-Africa%E2%80%99s-national-lockdown-Examining-the-COVID-19-grant-changes-to-the-Child-Support-Grant-and-post-October-policy-options.pdf
Laborde D, Martin W, Swinnen J and Vos R (2020) COVID-19 risks to global food security. Science, 369(6503): 500-502.
Manduna K (2022) Overpromising and under-delivering: Zimbabwe’s extractive industry indigenisation and uneven development. Unpublished PhD Dissertation. Johannesburg, South Africa: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
McCandless E (2021) Supporting Resilient Social Contracts in Times of Crisis: Emerging Lessons from COVID-19. Working paper: SA Future Economy. Retrieved from https://www.wits.ac.za/media/wits-university/faculties-and-schools/commerce-law-and-management/wits-school-of-governance/documents/McCandless-Supporting%20Resilient%20Social%20Contracts%20in%20Times%20of%20Crisis.pdf
Merriam SB (2002) Introduction to qualitative research. Qualitative research in practice: Examples for discussion and analysis, 1(1): 1-17.
Mogoatlhe L (2020, 01 September). South Africa Is Clamping Down on Corruption and High-Level Looting of COVID-19 Relief Fund. Global Citizen. Retrieved from https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/covid-19-corruption-crack-down-in-south-africa/
NIDS-CRAM Wave 1 Synthesis Report (2020) National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM). Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Spaull-et-al.-NIDS-CRAM-Wave-1-Synthesis-Report-Overview-and-Findings-1.pdf
NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Synthesis Report (2020) National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM). Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/1.-Spaull-et-al.-NIDS-CRAM-Wave-2-Synthesis-Report.pdf
NIDS-CRAM Wave 3 Synthesis Report (2020) National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM). Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/1.-Spaull-N.-Daniels-R.-C-et-al.-2021-NIDS-CRAM-Wave-3-Synthesis-Report.pdf
NIDS-CRAM Wave 4 Synthesis Report (2020) National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM). Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/1.-Spaull-N.-Daniels-R.-C-et-al.-2021-NIDS-CRAM-Wave-4-Synthesis-Report..pdf
NIDS-CRAM Wave 5 Synthesis Report (2020) National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM). Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/1.-Spaull-N.-Daniels-R.-C-et-al.-2021-NIDS-CRAM-Wave-5-Synthesis-Report.pdf
Ranchhod V and Daniels RC (2020) Labour market dynamics in South Africa in the time of COVID-19: Evidence from Waves 1 and 2 of the NIDS-CRAM survey. NIDS-CRAM Working Paper Series. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/13.-Ranchhod-V.-_-Daniels-R.-2020-Labour-market-dynamics-in-South-Africa-in-the-time-of-COVID-19-Evidence-from-Waves-1-and-2-of-the-NIDS-CRAM-survey.pdf
Rogan M and Skinner C (2020) The Covid-19 crisis and the South African informal economy ‘Locked out’ of livelihoods and employment. NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Working Paper 3. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Rogan-Covid-crisis-and-the-South-African-informal-economy.pdf
Schotte S and Zizzamia R (2021) The livelihood impacts of COVID-19 in urban South Africa. SA-TIED WIDER Working Paper #168. UNU-WIDER 2021. Retrieved from https://sa-tied.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/SA-TIED-WP168.pdf
Statistics South Africa Report (2022) Measuring Food Security in South Africa: Applying the Food Insecurity Experience Scale. Department of Statistics South Africa. Retrieved from http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-03-00-19/Report-03-00-192020.pdf
The African Development Bank Group (2022a) Supporting African countries through a global food crisis: The African Development Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility. The African Development Bank Group. Retrieved from https://www.afdb.org/sites/default/files/news_documents/african_development_bank_group_africa_food_emergency_production_plan_summary_copy-v2.pdf
The African Development Bank Group (2022b) African Development Bank Board approves $1.5 billion facility to avert food crisis. The African Development Bank Group. Retrieved from https://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/press-releases/african-development-bank-board-approves-15-billion-facility-avert-food-crisis-51716
The FAO, IFAD, WFP, UNICEF & WHO Report (2022) The state of food security and nutrition in the world: Repurposing food and agricultural policies to make healthy diets more affordable. Rome: FAO. Retrieved from https://www.fao.org/3/cc0639en/cc0639en.pdf
Van der Berg S, Patel L and Bridgeman G (2021) Food insecurity in South Africa: Evidence from NIDS-CRAM Wave 5. National Income Dynamic Study: Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey 2020. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/13.-Van-der-Berg-S.-Patel-L-and-Bridgeman-G.-2021-Food-insecurity-in-South-Africa-%E2%80%93-Evidence-from-NIDS-CRAM-Wave-5.pdf
Visagie J and Turok I (2020) The Uneven Geography of the COVID-19 Crisis. NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Working Paper 3. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/14.-Visagie-J.-_-Turok-I.-2020-The-uneven-geography-of-the-COVID-19-crisis.pdf
Wills G, Patel L, van der Berg S and Mpeta B (2020) Household resource flows and food poverty during South Africa’s lockdown: Short-term policy implications for three channels of social protection. NIDS-CRAM Wave 1 Working Paper 3. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Wills-household-resource-flows-and-food-poverty-during-South-Africa%E2%80%99s-lockdown-2.pdf
Wittenberg M and Branson N (2021) Creating Household Weights for NIDS-CRAM. NIDS-CRAM Wave 2 Working Paper 3. Retrieved from https://cramsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Wittenberg-M.-Branson-N.-2021.-Creating-household-weights-for-NIDS-CRAM.pdf
World Bank (2020) Global Economic Prospects, June 2020. Washington, DC.: World Bank. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/global-economicprospects#overview
Section
Articles