Original Research

The impact of climate change on food security in South Africa: Current realities and challenges ahead

Tshepo S. Masipa
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 9, No 1 | a411 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v9i1.411 | © 2017 Tshepo S. Masipa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 November 2016 | Published: 11 August 2017

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This article aims to examine the impact of climate change on food security in South Africa. For this purpose, the article adopted a desktop study approach. Previous studies, reports, surveys and policies on climate change and food (in)security. From this paper’s analysis, climate change presents a high risk to food security in sub-Saharan countries from crop production to food distribution and consumption. In light of this, it is found that climate change, particularly global warming, affects food security through food availability, accessibility, utilisation and affordability. To mitigate these risks, there is a need for an integrated policy approach to protect the arable land against global warming. The argument advanced in this article is that South Africa’s ability to adapt and protect its food items depends on the understanding of risks and the vulnerability of various food items to climate change. However, this poses a challenge in developing countries, including South Africa, because such countries have weak institutions and limited access to technology. Another concern is a wide gap between the cost of adapting and the necessary financial support from the government. There is also a need to invest in technologies that will resist risks on food systems.


climate change; food (in)security; agriculture; South Africa


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