African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6863


A review of the poverty and food security issues in South Africa: Is agriculture the solution?

Tshuma, M. C.
Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice, 5700, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 15 June 2012
  •  Published: 28 July 2012



Poverty and high levels of food insecurity have been some of the biggest problems facing the nation of South Africa since the early days of democracy. Whilst the black majority hoped for a more improved economy after the country’s first democratic elections, the legacy of apartheid laws has made the reality to be a different story. Yes, it is true that the nation has continued to grow over the last decade but only the minority has enjoyed this growth at the expense of the majority. This paper attempts to review the situation in South Africa (SA) through discussing food insecurity and the different faces of poverty faced by the citizens of this rainbow nation. This paper covers a number of concepts, which include the concept of food security, poverty, their definitions and application in South Africa’s context. Poverty situation and their indicators in South Africa were also discussed. The paper advocates for the development of small-scale agricultural system in rural areas, provision of financial support and commercialization of the farm produce as the means to reduce poverty, achieve food security and decimate the high rate of unemployment in South Africa.


Key words: Poverty, food security, smallholder agriculture, rural development.