Louw Pienaar (Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Elsenburg) Hunger in the former apartheid homelands: Determinants of converging food security 100 years after the 1913 Land Act

On Monday, May 19th, Louw Pienaar, Agricultural Economist at Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Elsenburg, will give a lecture at the Rural and Environmental History group

Organised by Rural and Environmental History

Mon 19 May 2014 12:30 to 14:00

Venue Leeuwenborch, gebouwnummer 201
Room 3048

Hunger in the former apartheid homelands: Determinants of converging food security 100 years after the 1913 Land Act




One hundred years after the implementation of the 1913 Land Act, the subject of land reform and rural development are still at the forefront of public discourse within South Africa. Much of the literature suggests that post-apartheid interventions have not been successful at improving small-scale agriculture, which is seen as an important vehicle for improving rural food security. Nevertheless, data from the General Household Survey indicate that household food security has improved in the post-2000 decade. In particular, this paper demonstrates that hunger levels have declined substantially since 2002 (as other estimates of poverty have also indicated), but more importantly that they have done so faster in former homelands regions. Using linear probability models, this paper seeks to isolate which factors have led to the convergence of homeland regions’ hunger levels to the rest of the country. The historical context that is sketched here highlights the severe challenges faced by farmers in these areas; this raises the question how convergence in food security occurred, given that many agricultural interventions have not attained the success that was hoped for. In particular, the large reliance on social grants in homelands regions accounts for a part of the reduction in hunger levels. Communal gardens and connections to the agricultural market have reduced hunger within former homelands regions. The long-term sustainability of grants in bolstering food security is of concern, highlighting the need for greater market integration of small scale farmers in homeland regions.

Louw Pienaar is an agricultural economist at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture at Elsenburg. Working in the division for macro and resource economics, he is involved in multi-sector analysis and research on economic impacts on agriculture in South Africa and the Western Cape. He is interested in rural development and the role of agriculture in development and food security. Louw holds a M.Sc. in agricultural economics at the University of Stellenbosch and have been involved in research with the Bureau of Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) since 2010. Other fields of study include International Trade, Livelihood and Poverty analysis and Labour market outcomes within an agricultural context.