Coping with Food Insecurity in Rural South Africa: The Case of Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
This study set out to determine the extent of hunger and determine how frequently the households of members of an irrigation scheme in the Jozini area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa adopted precautionary strategies with regard to food security compared to non-scheme households from the same community. A questionnaire and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were used to collect qualitative and quantitative data from 69 irrigation scheme households and an equal number of sampled nonscheme households
... scheme households in the winter of 2013. The study compared the frequency of reported hunger and Coping Strategies Index (CSI) scores. Many households experienced hunger in January and June when children return to school after vacations. Relying on less preferred or inexpensive foods was the most commonly employed strategy, practiced by 88% of the households. Feeding working members at the expense of the non-working was the least commonly practiced strategy (21% of the households). A range of coping strategies were employed, especially during the months of higher incidences of reported hunger. No significant differences were observed between irrigation scheme and non-irrigation scheme households regarding CSI scores. Households in this rural location need to be encouraged to engage more actively in home production. Extension services need to assist in planning these gardens to provide food in months when hunger is widespread. Assistance with savings and household budgeting are essential to help households anticipate and plan for months of inadequate income and high expenditure demands.