Exploring the impact of the 2008 global food crisis on food security among vulnerable households in rural South Africa

Raphael J. Nawrotzki, Kristin Robson, Margaret J. Gutilla, Lori M. Hunter, Wayne Twine, Petra Norlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recurring food crises endanger the livelihoods of millions of households in developing countries around the globe. Owing to the importance of this issue, we explored recent changes in food security between the years 2004 and 2010 in a rural district in Northeastern South Africa. Our study window spans the time of the 2008 global food crisis and allows the investigation of its impacts on rural South African populations. Grounded in the sustainable livelihood framework, we examined differences in food security trajectories among vulnerable sub populations. A unique panel data set of 8,147 households, provided by the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System (Agincourt HDSS), allowed us to employ a longitudinal multilevel modeling approach to estimate adjusted growth curves for the differential changes in food security across time. We observed an overall improvement in food security that leveled off after 2008, most likely resulting from the global food crisis. In addition, we discovered significant differences in food security trajectories for various sub populations. For example, female-headed households and those living in areas with better access to natural resources differentially improved their food security situation, compared to male-headed households and those households with lower levels of natural resource access. However, former Mozambican refugees witnessed a decline in food security. Therefore, poverty alleviation programs for the Agincourt region should work to improve the food security of vulnerable households, such as former Mozambican refugees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-297
Number of pages15
JournalFood Security
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Agincourt
  • Food security
  • Global food crisis
  • Growth curve models
  • Natural resources
  • South Africa

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