Food insecurity and malnutrition have worsened despite numerous commitments by African governments and their leaders to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition as captured in the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa's Agenda 2063. Africa's 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods set out the need to increase agricultural expenditure to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition. However, analyses of the impact of public expenditure on agriculture in Africa have focused on poverty reduction and economic growth, with very little analysis of the impact on food security and nutrition. This study sought to fill this gap with respect to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A panel data analysis for the years 2000 to 2016 was employed using a fixed-effect generalised least squares estimation. Four food security indicators were used, namely, the average dietary energy supply adequacy; the prevalence of undernourishment; the prevalence of stunting; and per capita food production variability. The share of public agriculture expenditure in total public expenditure was used as a proxy for government expenditure on agriculture. The results showed that public expenditure on agriculture was associated with a significant positive impact on the average dietary energy supply adequacy and per capita food production variability. In the study, increased government expenditure on agriculture was associated with a decline in the prevalence of undernourishment over this period. There was no sufficient evidence to show that government agriculture expenditure on agriculture was associated with changes in the prevalence of stunting. The nine SADC countries included in the analysis need to put more effort into acting on their commitments, strengthening strategies to address the issue of food insecurity and malnutrition. The nine SADC countries need to promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture and the diversification of agricultural production to improve nutrition. They also need to increase the development and use of biofortified food crops. As food security is essentially a public good, public resources are needed to stimulate research and development, the adoption of technologies and practices and sharing the knowledge of the benefits of these practices among communities.
Dissertation (MSc Agric (Agric Economics))--University of Pretoria, 2021.