Food and cash: understanding the role of the retail sector in rural food security in South Africa
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- Pereira, L.M., Cuneo, C.N. & Twine, W.C. Food Sec. (2014) 6: 339. doi:10.1007/s12571-014-0349-1
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A decline in subsistence agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa has meant an increased role for the private sector in food security strategies, but this role remains a relatively blind spot in food policy. We address this gap by analyzing retailers and consumers in a rural region of South Africa. Our results show that purchasing food is an important food security strategy for the rural poor, but is constrained by a lack of access to income. Furthermore, a reliance on specific non-perishable foodstuffs impacts the micronutrients that the poorest can access if they are unable to grow their own fresh produce. Adaptive food policy thus requires a holistic appreciation of the food system - emphasizing production as well as building livelihoods outside of agriculture.