Urban Food Insecurity and the Advent of Food Banking in Southern Africa

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Southern Africa is one of the most food insecure regions in the world. Even before the world food price increases of 2007 and the global economic recession in 2008, the number of food insecure people in Southern Africa was growing inexorably. Between 1990/2 and 2004/6, for example, the number of food insecure people increased from 32.4 million to 36.7 million. Today, it is estimated to be over 40 million. Food insecurity is partly a result of particularly rapid urbanization. Cities are growing at 4-5% per annum and the proportion of the population living in urban areas is expected to exceed 50% by 2025. In some countries, such as South Africa and Botswana, the proportion is already over 60%. The capacity of cities to ensure food security for all is strained by high unemployment, low wages, the challenge of integrating large numbers of in-migrants, and the persistence of HIV and AIDS.