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07 September 2021

Over 49 000 Households to participate in the National Food and Nutrition Security Survey

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Monday 6 September 2021 – To improve the planning and interventions that will improve the status of food security and nutrition at household level, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) through the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)  will be conducting a survey on status of Food and Nutrition Security in South Africa. 

Starting on Monday 13 September 2021 in the province of Mpumalanga, the National Food and Nutrition Security Survey will seek to gather data and information government will use to ensure that every household in South Africa is not exposed to extreme hunger and has access to adequate food and nutrition through targeted interventions and effective planning and deployment of resources for food production.

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 food access at household level 

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

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

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

Survey results will determine policy recommendations and options for targeted food and nutrition security interventions. 

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

It intends to provide a first step towards the development of a multidimensional index to assess countries’ vulnerability to food insecurity across all four dimensions (namely, food availability, access, utilization and stability).

“The survey 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 a minimum of 49 210 households across all 52 districts of South Africa in all nine provinces. Over 100 000 people are expected to participate in the survey. These include the head of the household 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 as well as 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 using a questionnaire to gather information, which may include the following:

Geographic particulars



Food availability

Food production

Shocks and social networks

Infant feeding practices


Household information


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.

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

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For media interviews, please contact Adziliwi Nematandani, 0827659191, 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.

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