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Regional Issues in Food Security for Southern Africa

Working papers

Written by Steve Wiggins

This short brief looks at food security policy issues for Southern Africa that arise at the regional, or supra-national, level. Three particular aspects are examined as being of particular importance for food security:
• trade, stocks and commodity exchanges;
• early warning systems and disaster preparedness; and
• migration.

By way of setting the issues in context, an initial hypothesis may be that the scope for regional cooperation in food security is greatest in assuring the availability of food at all times at moderate and stable prices. Regional trading, stocks, commodity exchanges, and early warning of production problems all have potential to make staple food available through the different countries.

There may be correspondingly less scope for supra-national policy in resolving issues of economic and social access (or entitlement) to food, since these largely relate to poverty reduction and relief. Policy for these, other than for overall economic growth and the relief of emergencies, tends to be primarily national. Migration, however, can be important for the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable households, and thus to their access to food.

Steve Wiggins