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Access to sufficient food is the constitutional right of all South Africans. And although at the national level SA is a food secure nation, at the level of households the picture is very different. Stats SA indicates that around 35% of the total population are currently vulnerable to food insecurity. Women, children and the elderly are the most vulnerable with 1,5m children under the age of 6yrs being malnourished and therefore stunted because of lack of proper nutrition. (Stats SA: Measuring Poverty in SA, 2000).

So the problem is not that SA can’t provide food but that the access to food at the household level is the problem. (KZN, NP, EC and Free State are the worst affected provinces.) The movement of male labour to urban areas has resulted in the erosion of the fundamentally agrarian existence of Black African and a subsequent increased reliance on non-farm and non-rural incomes. Purchased food as opposed to own-produced food leaves households exposed to price fluctuations and given that the ultra-poor spend more than 50% of their income on food – this has a devastating impact. Poverty and food-insecurity go hand-in-hand in a devastating self-perpetuating cycle.

The chronic lack of food security experienced by more than a third of the country’s population highlights the severe inequalities in SA’s society and impacts on the current and future stability of the nation. At the household level food insecurity leads to disproportionately high health and medical costs, high funeral expenses, poor educational development and perform and and low labour productivity.

Because the current food insecurity in SA is not a result of large-scale commercial farming, the emphasis must be on strengthening small-scale farming and community food gardening programmes and most importantly should provide the opportunity for these initiatives to generate income to supplement household food provision. Access to agricultural support services remains the major factor constraining the growth of smallholder agriculture in SA and unless a farmer support programme of appropriate scale and scope are put in place, smallholder farmers will have little chance of escaping poverty. In terms of current best practice for addressing food insecurity, it is clear that programmes must invest in training for small-scale producers, most critically by providing entrepreneurial expertise. In this way rural food gardeners will be able to be linked to the economic mainstream.


This is the context that faced the Institute in 2004 when it was approached by a number of stakeholders to assist with programmes that combined entrepreneurship education with agri-business skills. Using the core ideologies that believe in the potential of the participants, the inclusion of entrepreneurial drivers and experiential methodologies, the Institute developed the AgriPlanner suite of programmes. With significant funding from Coronation Fund Managers, it has been able to develop materials; train trainers, farmers and learners; and support and link emerging farmers to markets.



The Institute is a social profit organisation and as such the return generated for funders and stakeholders should be viewed as social profit with the “return on social profit” being in the form of lives changed for the better. The AgriPlanner programme has for more than 10 years been providing this social return.

A new order?


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