Towards a Just Transition in the South African Food System: Key issues and competing perspectives

[DISCUSSION PAPER COVER]
[TEXT]
May 2023
TOWARDS A JUST TRANSITION IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN FOOD SYSTEM – KEY ISSUES AND COMPETING PERSPECTIVES
[IMAGE - A woman selling fruit and vegetables at an informal roadside stall]
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The South African food system is characterized by social inequalities, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to climate change impacts. In this discussion paper, we explore the key challenges and opportunities for transitioning towards a more just and sustainable system in South Africa.

Key takeaways from the paper include:

  1. The South African system reflects and reproduces the country’s social and economic inequalities.
  2. Inequalities exist in the agrarian production structure, patterns of consumption, food insecurity, malnutrition, and labor conditions.
  3. Climate change poses significant threats to the country’s food system and could deepen existing social inequalities.
  4. A deep, transformative just transition requires principles such as democratic participation, social justice, gender equity, and ecological sustainability.
  5. The discussion paper concludes that further research is needed to better understand the complexities of South Africa’s food system and identify effective strategies for transitioning towards a more just and sustainable future. These strategies must:
    • Address inequality: Any sustainability transition must address inequality in all its forms – from production to consumption – to ensure that everyone benefits from a more just system.
    • Encourage democratic participation: A deep, transformative just transition requires democratic participation from all stakeholders to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard and considered.
    • Foster gender equity: Gender equity is essential for a just system, as women often bear the brunt of food insecurity and environmental degradation.


You can watch the launch event of the discussion paper on the IEJ’s YouTube channel.