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The current rain-fed and irrigated production of food crops and its potential to meet the year-round nutritional requirements of rural poor people in North West, Limpopo,Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape
Expanded Title:While there is not much evidence of widespread starvation and extreme undernutrition in South Africa, national surveys provide evidence of multiple forms of deprivation related to the experience of hunger, widespread manifestation of hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiencies and increasing rates of overweight and obesity. Moreover, the co-existence of adult (especially female) overweight and obesity with hidden hunger and child malnutrition raises serious concerns over household food security. Despite a multitude of state, private sector and non-governmental agency (NGO)-funded food security programmes, South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the world where stunting has increased over the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) period. It is also the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region where child stunting has not decreased. The increasing incidence of overweight among women and children raises alarm. This indicates severe inadequacies related to the diets of South Africans and highlights the importance of understanding the constraints faced by households in achieving food security to ensure health, productivity and development. A baseline and scoping study commissioned by the Water Research Commission (WRC Report No. TT 537/12) has revealed numerous knowledge gaps with regard to smallholder production and food security in South Africa. The study highlighted that there is limited current and generalisable food security and nutrition research in South Africa. Very few studies have investigated the year-round source(s) of food for the rural poor. In particular, agricultural interventions to improve human nutrition and the (indirect) eventual outcomes of health, education and economics are practically non-existent. The study identified two specific knowledge gaps. Firstly, it identified that the contribution of home- or small-holder grown foods to total dietary intake and nutritional requirements (in the context of an in-depth description of the food environment and its links to water) is not known. Secondly, the effect of seasonality on home or smallholder production is not documented. This project set out to address this significant and longstanding gap in knowledge and to propose a set of options for strengthening rain-fed and irrigated crop production in the rural areas investigated to identify the research focus areas related to efficient water use that could directly overcome dietary inadequacies and lead to better nutrition of rural household members. This unique study drew on a trans-disciplinary research approach to investigate the consumption and production patterns of rural households in communities in four selected sites in the poorest local municipalities in South Africa. This report presents the findings of this study.
Date Published:01/09/2016
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation, Agricultural Water - Rainwater harvesting
Document Keywords:Rural, Society
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2172/1/16
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0836-4
Authors:Hendriks SL; Viljoen A; Marais D; Wenhold F; McIntyre AM; Ngidi MS; van der Merwe C; Annandale J; Kalaba M; Stewart D
Project No:K5/2172
Originator:WRC
Organizations:University of Pretoria; Lima Rural Development Foundation
Document Size:1 845 KB
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