Investigating the sensitivity of household food security to agriculture-related shocks and the implication of social and natural capital

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2015

This paper examines the impact of agriculture-related shocks on consumption patterns of rural farming households using 3 years of data from South Africa. We make two key observations.

First, agriculture-related shocks reduce households’ consumption. Second, natural resources and informal social capital somewhat counteract this reduction and sustain dietary requirements. In general, our findings suggest the promotion of informal social capital and natural resources as they are cheaper and more accessible coping strategies, in comparison to, for example, insurance, which remains unaffordable in most rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa. However, a lingering concern centres on the sustainability of these less conventional adaptation strategies.

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Publication | 29 September 2015