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Ensuring food security and poverty reduction in South Africa

Ensuring food security and the reduction of poverty relies heavily on providing support for agriculture, especially in areas such as South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, where poverty and food insecurity are widespread. Smallholder farmers in this region depend on access to water and land for their livelihoods. However, these crucial resources often require more attention. The Eastern Cape faces water scarcity due to its dry climate and frequent droughts, which make it a challenge for farmers to grow food and many smallholder farmers need help to adapt to these challenges.

A recent study funded by the NRF examined how water, land, and food security are connected for smallholder farmers in the Eastern Cape. The researchers found that, while having more land and water could improve farmers’ food security and incomes, they are not enough on their own. Farmers also need support services such as agricultural advice, market access, affordable transport, and funds to invest in their farms. Despite the potential benefits, challenges in the province make it difficult for smallholder farming to thrive.

The research suggests that, in order to assist smallholder farmers in the Eastern Cape, focus must be placed on rural food security and improvements in access to water, land, and food. Building dams and better irrigation can help overcome water scarcity while the provision of knowledge and resources to farmers to improve their situation and boost rural development is essential.

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