Few of us know what it’s like to truly be “starving” – it simply doesn’t feature as part of our reality. However, for many in our country, it’s an all too familiar feeling.
According to research, 234 million people in sub-Saharan Africa did not have food security between 2010 and 2012. This is a worrying statistic, and even though one would hope that things have improved in subsequent years, studies seem to indicate otherwise. It has been found that up to 70% of households in South Africa’s informal settlements do not eat three meals a day, or eat the same meal on most days of the week. This equates to inadequate nutrition – if not too little food, then not enough of a varied, healthy diet.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation, “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.
Reasons cited for the increase in food insecurity are: (1) poverty; (2) low levels of education of mothers; (3) unemployment; (4) large households; and (5) unexpected financial pressures on households.
There are a number of possible solutions – some short-term, while others require a deeper, systemic change: these include feeding schemes, agricultural projects to encourage the creation of a sustainable food source, as well as job creation and education.
If you would like to support a project aimed at helping ensure food security, visit Different.org to choose from a number of projects.
We’re grateful to Nisha Naicker for her open-source article titled “Food insecurity is a reality for millions of South Africans living in informal settlements” published in The Conversation on 12 October 2015, from which the facts above were taken.