Assessment of the realisation of the right to adequate food in the Blue Crane Route (Eastern Cape, South Africa)

  • ML Marais
  • E Lessing
  • T Frank


Objectives: To assess whether the right to adequate food (RtF) is realised by children and primary caregivers and what actions are required to fully realise this right.
Design: A cross-sectional, descriptive study was undertaken using a mixed-methods approach.
Setting and subjects: Rural and urban primary caregivers of children (one to five years old) were recruited if they had resided in the Blue Crane Route (Eastern Cape) for at least six months. Purposefully selected key informants (KIs) involved in nutrition and food security, health or governance participated in in-depth interviews.
Outcome measures: Primary caregivers responded to interviewer-administered questionnaires (IAQ) (N = 161), which investigated various indicators supporting the realisation of the RtF. Statistical analysis of quantitative data examined relationships between urban and rural participants. Significance was considered at p < 0.05. In-depth interviews with key informants (KIs) examined the perceptions of 11 prominent community leaders. Qualitative data were coded deductively
and common themes identified.
Results: Based on the IAQ, half (51%) of the caregivers had experienced risk of, or food insecurity in the past month. Common themes indicative of suboptimal realisation of the RtF included insufficient employment opportunities, inadequate policies and programme implementation, and inadequate agrarian practices, while the child support grant partially supported the realisation of the RtF. Caregivers felt disempowered by a sense of inability to realise the right themselves without
government assistance but KIs suggested that caregivers needed to take responsibility.
Conclusion: The RtF of children and their caregivers is not fully realised in the Blue Crane Route. Concerted, multidisciplinary approaches using a rights-based approach to implement policies and programmes are needed, together with the
empowerment of the community with necessary skills and resources to further the realisation of the RtF.

Keywords right to food, food security, children, Eastern Cape

How to Cite
Marais, M., Lessing, E., & Frank, T. (2022). Assessment of the realisation of the right to adequate food in the Blue Crane Route (Eastern Cape, South Africa). South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 35(3), 122-132. Retrieved from
Original Research