Student-led Project

The Food Policy Environment: Addressing the Need for Policy Certainty and Alignment with National Vision

Project Leader(s):

In the past, ‘food policy’ was essentially used as a blanket term to indicate the entire range of policy efforts that affect various food system outcomes. Of late however, the term has come to be used to indicate the need for more integrative strategies to align the various policy efforts. Said efforts would involve pursuing a shared vision of food systems as a whole, through consistent and integrated sectoral policy goals and instruments. Within South Africa, the presidency is mandated to coordinate and integrate said policies, in order to create credibility, sustainability, investor confidence and in order to avoid political confusion. However, food policy offers a substantial challenge to governments across the globe as, amongst many other issues, it spans across multiple policy areas- thereby demanding various responses across these said different policy sectors. Furthermore, government structures often create inconsistent policies due to separate political mandates and the perusal of various self-interests. Thus, the aim of the research project is to provide the evidence of what is a misalignment in food policy across and within sectors, and to indicate the implications thereof. Three of the main research focal areas are as follows:

  • The complexity of the social-ecological system (food system) and challenges, assumptions, expectations of governing this through policy;
  • Appropriate policy responses to the food system; and
  • The (mis)alignment of policy (across sectors) and the “reality of realpolitik”: implications for a post- Zuma administration.

Under the co-supervision of Professor Nick Vink (Head of the Agricultural Economics Department) and Scott Drimie, the project will unfold through a close working relationship between the Agricultural Sciences Faculty and the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition.

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