News & events

Press Releases

08 November 2021

Collection of National Food and Nutrition Security Survey data will proceed to the North-West province in November

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Friday 5 November 2021 – From Wednesday, 10 November 2021, fieldworkers from the Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) National Food and Nutrition Security Survey will start collecting data in North-West province. This follows a successful data-collection period in Mpumalanga last month.

The research findings will support government interventions aimed at alleviating hunger in South African households. Such interventions include the effective planning and deployment of resources for food production to ensure households have access to adequate food and nutrition.

The objectives of the survey are to provide a baseline assessment of the food security and nutrition situation in households by focusing on:

Availability, through determining food availability at household level; 

–  Access, through determining access to food at household level; 

Food utilisation, through determining food consumption and compiling anthropometric measurements of household members (height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), etc.); and

Food stability, through assessing household food stability with respect to food supply, food price changes, shocks and household coping mechanisms.

The survey intends to provide a first step towards the development of a multidimensional index to assess countries’ vulnerability to food insecurity across these four dimensions.

It will analyse the link between food security and nutrition and explore the reasons for people’s vulnerability. It will also include an assessment of the COVID-19 impact on household food security and nutrition in South Africa.

According to HSRC’s Dr Thokozani Simelane, Principal Investigator, the survey marks the country’s first in-depth country‐wide study of food security and nutrition vulnerability. 

“This is meant to be a national village-based assessment and household-based survey, providing data at district and, where possible, at municipal level for the highest precision required to measure the severity of food insecurity to support evidence-based decision making and planning. Data will be collected across the country from selected households in both rural and urban areas,” said Dr Simelane.

The study is targeting at least 49 210 households across all 52 districts of South Africa in all nine provinces. Over 100 000 people are expected to participate, including the head of households and/or the person responsible for food procurement and food preparation, as well as the biological mother of any children under the age of 5 years and all children between the ages of 0–5 years.

For this ground-breaking survey, HSRC fieldworkers in various districts will visit the households to conduct interviews in local languages. They will use a questionnaire to collect information, such as the following:

Geographic particulars
Welfare support
Food availability
Food production
Shocks and social networks
Infant feeding practices
Anthropometry (body measurements)
Household information
Employment status
Dwellings and services
Food security
Food consumption
Impact of COVID-19
Dietary diversity

The HSRC and provincial departments of agriculture are inviting members of the community to welcome and support fieldworkers who will be collecting data in their communities. They will be identified by their HSRC-marked bibs.

The survey has been commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)

For more information on the study, community members can visit HSRC website 

Join the conversation:




For media interviews, please contact Adziliwi Nematandani, 012 316 9729, email:

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences. 

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

Join the conversation at:

Related Press Releases