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27 January 2022

Phase two of the National Food and Nutrition Security Survey to kick off in February in the Free State

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Thursday 27 January 2022 –  Following a successful completion of the first phase of the National Food and Nutrition Security Survey (NFNSS) in the North-West province, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) research team will move on to implement phase two of the survey in the Free State province from 1 February 2022.

The survey seeks to gather information government will use to ensure that every household in South Africa has access to adequate food and nutrition through targeted interventions and effective planning and deployment of resources for food production.

Phase one of the survey was conducted in 2021 in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North-West provinces. Phase two starts in February 2022 in Free State and Northern Cape and will conclude in March 2022 in the Western Cape. Phase three will include Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape.

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 assess the reasons for household vulnerability to hunger and poor nutrition, including the impact of COVID-19. 

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 is South Africa’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, utilisation 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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