About 2.5 million households (15,6%) were involved in agricultural activities in South Africa in 2017. Most of these households were found in Limpopo (25%), Eastern Cape (20%) and KwaZulu-Natal (20%). They were mainly headed by females (52,8%) and mostly involved in the production of fruits and vegetables (53,4%), grain and other food crops (51,8%), as well as in livestock (47,1%) and poultry (35,3%) farming. The main source of income for these households was social grants. Furthermore, most households involved in agricultural activities indicated that the main reason for their involvement is to supplement food for the household.
Despite South Africa being food secure at national level, almost 21,3% of South African households had inadequate or severe inadequate access to food in 2017. This varied by province, population group of household head and by household size. Limpopo (93,6%) and Gauteng (84,0%) had the highest proportion of households that reported adequate food access, whilst North West (64,0%) and Northern Cape (66,5%) recorded the lowest proportions of households that had adequate food access. Households headed by black African people (76,1%) and coloured people (78,2%) were less likely to have adequate access to food compared to households headed by Indians/Asians (93,2%) and whites (96,6%). In addition, households with larger household sizes were more likely to have inadequate or severe inadequate access to food compared to those with smaller household sizes.
About 1.7 million households experienced hunger in 2017. More than 60% of these households are found in urban areas. Despite being one of the poorest provinces, Limpopo had the smallest proportion (3,3%) of households that reported experiencing hunger. Gauteng is one of the richest provinces in South Africa, but it had the largest percentage (25,2%) of households that experienced hunger. Gauteng, unlike Limpopo, has a larger urban population and most of the households that reported to have experienced hunger were located in urban areas. In addition, Gauteng had the lowest proportion of households involved in agricultural activities compared to other provinces.
More than half a million (611 000) households with children aged five years or younger experienced hunger in 2017. This constitutes 13,1% of households with children aged five years or younger. Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal had the highest proportion of such households. More than half (56,1%) of the households with children aged five years or younger that experienced hunger were located in urban areas. The higher the number of children aged five years or younger in the household, the higher the chances of that household to experience hunger.