While food security is less of an issue in the Western world relative to southern Africa and parts of Asia, scientists in the west are not taking a break or slacking. They are researching ways to improve agricultural output in the context of declining land per capita, climate change and changing consumer preferences, among other things. Such conversations have been few and far between in South Africa, at least on a national scale, writes Wandile Sihlobo.
South Africa is ranked as the most food-secure country on the continent and is 44th out of 133 countries worldwide, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Global Food Security Index. The index captures the most critical aspects of food security, namely affordability, availability as well as quality and safety.
South Africa is still, however, lagging behind when it comes to food security at household level. This is largely an issue of affordability, given the higher unemployment, which affects consumer spending.
Overall, for South Africa to maintain and improve food security in a sustainable way, science and technology should be central to planning and ensuring sustainable innovation in farming.