Fukuda-Parr, Sakiko (2017). 'Food security, entitlements and the capability approach – conceptual explorations and empirical studies of South Africa and Brazil' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.


The capability to be well nourished is essential for human well being and survival. It is an important component of a human development agenda. Yet it is surprising that relatively little attention has been paid to food security in the capabilities literature, in contrast for example to the capability to be healthy or to be educated. There has not been an elaboration of what the capability to be well nourished entails, what the priorities of a capability based food security strategy would include, and how this might differ from other approaches. Moreover, while Sen’s entitlement approach has led to an important literature and influenced the field of research and policy making for food security, the relationship between capabilities and entitlements – in concept and theory, and in policy priorities - has not been clearly articulated.

This panel engages with these conceptual questions through three papers, each of which analyses the food security situation in South Africa, its underlying causes, and the policy approaches taken by government. The intent is to present the three papers as a conversation with one another on the conceptual question of the relationship between capabilities and entitlements as well as the adequacy of each of these frameworks for policy purposes.

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