Understanding the dynamics of food (in)security and vulnerability in the Amathole District of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
Ngumbela, Xolisile Gideon.
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Food insecurity is a major development problem facing many third world countries. It is caused by a myriad of factors in the global, regional, national and local spheres of human life. Numerous efforts by different actors have been put in place to alleviate food insecurity globally, regionally, nationally and locally. Communities in the Amathole District Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa experience severe food insecurity and government and other nongovernmental organisations have been striving to ameliorate the situation. Despite concerted efforts, the poverty and food insecurity situation continue in the district. There is a dearth of empirical study on the nature, causes and possible solutions to food insecurity among vulnerable people in this district. Also, there is a need to find out whether the food security approaches and strategies put in place by governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and communities have produced the intended results of pushing poverty frontiers. It is against this background that this study determines the dynamics of food security and vulnerability among people in the Amathole District Municipality of the Eastern Cape. A mixed-methods research approach of quantitative and qualitative triangulation design was adopted to carry out this study. A total sample of 330 heads of households from the six local municipalities in the Amathole District Municipality participated in the study. Quantitative data was collected through a validated questionnaire and qualitative data was collected through a key informant interview schedule. A triangulation approach was adopted in analysing the data where qualitative analysis was used to complement the quantitative data. The qualitative analysis was completed through themes informed from the research questions, while the quantitative analysis was completed through descriptive statistics, multiple regression and a significance level adopted of 0.05. The results of this study show that the main source of income for the vulnerable people of the Amathole District Municipality is pension money (58.8%), the main source of water is tap water (61.0%) and the main source of food is through purchase (58.0%). The majority (74.0%) of residents rarely have access to enough food. Factors such as measures taken against food shortage, time of food shortage, causes of food shortage, acquired agricultural skills, agricultural activities and available agricultural resources have a significant contribution to the level of food security. xxix The study concludes that vulnerable people in the Amathole District Municipality are still facing food insecurity despite the efforts put in place by the present government. The sources of income and food of these people are not sustainable. The study recommends empowerment of the vulnerable people through agricultural activities with adequate provision of agricultural resources to the entire district