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Rural households staving off food insecurity with subsistence farming - study

Stats South Africa has found that three-quarters of households resort to growing their own food and it's not necessarily for trading purposes.

FILE: Farmers on a smallholding. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Rural households are increasingly turning to subsistence agriculture and this has led to a decline in food insecurity.

Stats South Africa has found that three-quarters of households resort to growing their own food and it's not necessarily for trading purposes.

Stats SA said the percentage of households who were vulnerable to hunger reflects the same trend. The General Household Survey found that the percentage of people who experienced hunger decreased from 29,3% in 2002 to 11,3%.

Stats SA’s Niel Roux said: “The majority, more than three-quarters, are doing subsistence farming and that compares to 2% commercial farmers.”

Roux said there had been a constant decline in households who said they went hungry and added this was due to agriculture and social grants.

“The use of agriculture as an extra source of food is high in rural areas.”

Stats SA said the number of people who were severely food insecure changed from 24% in 2002 down to 13% in 2008 and further down to 10% in 2018.