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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - Food Security Project
Title Exploring Statistics South Africa's national household surveys as sources of information about food security and subsistence agriculture
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 2-68
URL http://www.hsrc.ac.za/Document-3579.phtml
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explore the usefulness of some of Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA’s) household surveys as sources of information about household-level food insecurity and the related theme of subsistence agriculture. While none of these surveys focuses on these issues – and thus, for example, they are not well equipped to probe subtle issues such as vulnerability or risk – their potential advantages are that they are large, national, and in some cases annual or even more frequent. Indeed, two of Stats SA’s surveys discussed here allow not only trend analysis, but some actual panel analysis, in that some of the consecutive waves cover the same households.\n\nThree main surveys are examined in pursuit of different types of information: the Income and Expenditure Survey (IES) of 2005/06 is employed to give a perspective on food expenditure, food basket composition and dietary diversity; we explore the General Household Survey (GHS) in order to see what can be learned about the nature and location of households experiencing hunger; and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is employed to develop a picture of the involvement of blacks in farming.\n\nIt should be noted that the purpose of the paper is not particularly to consider the extent to which these household surveys can be relied upon to furnish or contribute to food insecurity indicators, where the function of such an indicator would typically be to provide reliable, comparable measurement of food insecurity or particular dimensions of food insecurity. Moreover, it is not a review of the main properties of these surveys, e.g. sampling frame, sampling methodology, etc., most of which is addressed in another paper in this series.

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