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Vulnerability to hunger during the Covid-19 pandemic: proactive food assistance policy actions

Authors P.T. JacobsM. MailaN. MabharwanaA. Nyamwanza
OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
Print HSRC Library: shelf number 9812732
handle 20.500.11910/20218
South Africa's hunger crisis predates the onset of Covid-19. However, the pandemic has cast a spotlight on the breadth and depth of hunger as well as the need for anti-hunger safety nets that are proactive rather than reactive. During the first two waves of the pandemic, 48% of South African residents remained in food poverty as they were unable to obtain enough healthy food to meet their needs, according to a 2021 HSRC study . The study also shows that, compared to pre-2020 levels of household hunger, there was a 6-12 percentage point increase, with considerable fluidity in proportions of households moving into and out of hunger in 2020. (HSRC 2021) Careful tracking of hunger vulnerability patterns in 2020 holds lessons for uncertain times ahead. The pandemic crisis exposed and tested the workings of production and distribution circuits through which food travels from farms to final consumers. Investigations by the Competition Commission of South Africa ascribed the abnormal surge in food prices during the pandemic.