Over half of the population in the Amathole district in South Africa experiences food insecurity, despite on-going government initiatives to combat the problem. The study reported here investigated factors that inhibit the achievement of food security by households in the district and government responses, to better understand the factors that might account for the persistence of this challenge. Using a literature review as methodology, the study identified poverty, high unemployment and low income as causes of chronic food insecurity in the area. The government solution of providing social grants has also increased food insecurity as people generally depend on cash, which is insufficient in comparison to what could be gained from small-scale farming and subject people to rising prices of staple foods such as maize and wheat. Another factor is inadequate infrastructure and service provision to households in rural areas. Lastly, in terms of education status, a limited percentage of the population has obtained a matric (school leaving) certificate or higher education qualification, which makes skilled jobs unavailable to most people. Government initiatives often fail to be implemented adequately: services do not always reach intended beneficiaries and fall short in quality and quantity, with budgets not spent or misappropriated. The government has identified catalytic projects that include small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), development and the solutions suggested in this paper involve adding job-creation initiatives, particularly in small-scale farming. Opportunities for developing the Amathole district’s economy are identified in the ocean economy, the heritage and tourism sector, and natural forests and reserves.
Key words: Food security, poverty, food.
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