Authored by Dr Laura Pereira, a report titled ‘The Future of South Africa’s Food System: What is research telling us? was recently published by the Southern Africa Food Lab.

The aim of the report was to systematically review the literature on food systems in South Africa so as to answer the following key question:
What can be learned about the South African food system from the literature on food security over the past 15 years? Following a systematic review of the literature, three main themes were chosen to reflect the new knowledge about the South African food system and to identify where there were still gaps in the knowledge, namely, the nutrition transition in South Africa, the role of the private sector and market forces in the food system, and identified threats to the food system.

The Report concludes that the following food system trends are worthy of closer examination:

  • Rapid urbanisation and a shift towards buying food in supermarkets rather than growing it at home.
  • The duality of the current agriculture system, where large commercial farms produce food for the formal value chain and smallholders are marginalised.
  • The concentration of power in the hands of a few corporates and the impact of this on consumer choices.
  • The concentration of power in the hands of a few corporates and the impact of this on consumer choices.
  • The long-term impact of nutritional deficiencies on South Africa’s children.
  • The scarcity of arable land and water.
  • The depletion of fishery stocks.
  • The impacts of climate change.
  • The causes and volumes of food waste.