South Africa: Food for Thought - Until Policy Meets Action, Hunger and Poor Nutrition Will Stalk the Land

opinion

On paper, the South African government has approached food and nutrition security in what appears to be a co-ordinated manner. But in reality, structures responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of policy and action remain largely dysfunctional.

The outcomes of food and nutrition security (FNS) interventions in South Africa have often fallen short of policy objectives due to weak or missing co-ordination mechanisms. Solving these policy co-ordination failures is not easy.

If the nature, extent and causes of co-ordination problems are not accurately identified, then proffered solutions are unlikely to be effective and lasting. co-ordinating food and nutrition policy shares a lot in common with policy cycles that are characterised by multiple actors, conflictual institutions, socioeconomic change and fragmentation.

There are three areas that need exploring to address the problem of food and nutrition security.

Co-ordination in modern food and nutrition policy domains

Finding integrated and holistic solutions to poor dietary intake and nutrition-related illnesses are the overriding preoccupations of modern food and nutrition policy. This stands in sharp contrast to the traditional focus on maximising the production of staple crops and animal-sourced foods.

Modern and traditional agro-food systems pose different policy co-ordination problems. In the traditional model, household farming dominates,...

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