Exploring household food security in the Viljoenskroon area
Decreased food security is a major issue which influences numerous individuals in developing countries such as South Africa. Literature suggests that although detailed information is not available about the exact amount of food insecure households in South Africa, food insecurity does exist. Multiple factors influence decreased food security and households in informal settlements often portray high risks to decreased food security due to a lack of adequate resources to ensure sustainable food security. However, to the authors' knowledge limited information is available regarding the specific state of household food security in informal settlements in South Africa. Information regarding the influences various factors have on food security in an informal settlement is also limited. Therefore this study aimed to explore household food security in an informal settlement including the factors that could possibly contribute to food insecurity. According to literature, the pillars of food security consist of food availability, accessibility and utilisation and can contribute to a decrease in household food security or the enhancement thereof. In addition, socio-demographical factors such as income, household size and level of education can influence household food security. Based on this information, the pillars of food security and socio-demographical aspects of a household were used as possible factors that influence food security and were included as part of the theoretical framework. Utilisation as part of the food security pillars was closely explored to determine if the knowledge and suggested implementation thereof was effective and contributing to household food security. The influence of knowledge of basic food related aspects on food security were therefore determined in this, combined with the relationships between various socio-demographics and food security. Furthermore, through these findings recommendations were made on how food security can be enhanced in the households of the identified informal settlement. A quantitative research approach was used in this study. As part of non-probability sampling interviewer administered questionnaires were presented to 103 respondents at Nutrifeeds production and distribution facility in the Viljoenskroon area. Existing questionnaires and surveys relevant to this study subject were consulted to develop the questionnaire which explored demographics, food production and knowledge of food handling, utilisation, storage practices, and food security. All questionnaires were completed and the data was analysed by Statistical Consultation Services at the North-West University, Potchefstroom, using the Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS). The results indicated that the majority of respondents possessed knowledge regarding food handling practices. Knowledge of food related aspects were indicated to be implemented accordingly, by most respondents with regard to food utilisation (preparation, hygiene and storage). It was determined that the more than two thirds of the respondents and their households were at risk of food insecurity or food insecure suggesting that a need exists for food insecurity to be addressed in this informal settlement. According to the results that were obtained in this study, food insecurity in the Viljoenskroon area, Rammulotsi informal settlement can be acknowledged. Additionally, the findings enabled the researcher to make recommendations to local businesses, clinics and local authorities regarding the enhancement of household food security in the area. The recommendations include the enhancement of knowledge regarding food related aspects, food production opportunities, food access and utilisation in the community as a means to improve the status of household food security in this informal settlement.
- Health Sciences