oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Community-based agricultural interventions in the context of food and nutrition security in South Africa : review

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



Despite South Africa being a food-secure country in terms of aggregate food availability, it is listed by the World Health Organization as one of 36 high-burden countries, home to large numbers of stunted children. Recent findings, in the context of both over- and under-nutrition, have indicated that adult and child malnutrition rates have deteriorated in South Africa. The complementarities and synergies between food availability, access and utilisation need to be aligned in interventions used to address and strengthen food and nutrition security. This is particularly pertinent in the context of the widespread AIDS epidemic which interacts with food insecurity in complex ways.

It is against this backdrop that home-grown or small-scale food production is explored as a feasible contributor to food and nutrition security for the rural poor with particular emphasis on contextual and technical factors. By illustrating a few successful models of home gardening, the evidence for addressing micronutrient deficiencies in these types of interventions is presented. The challenges to establish sustainable home gardening practices and the efforts needed to address gender-distinctive issues are discussed. The case is made for community-based agricultural interventions as a critical component of the various interventions used to address food and nutrition security at the household level.

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