Communities of the Keiskamma River are vulnerable to climate change. They are impoverished, dependent upon goods and services of natural ecosystems on land, along the seashore and the estuary, all of which are in decline. The majority of families (70% or more) also rely on social grants provided by the government, but some depend upon incomes that family members earn through employment. There is little security regarding food as the collection of food from the aquatic systems is unsustainable, income is insecure and uncertain, and agriculture, including gardening, is in serious decline. A multidisciplinary team from universities and NGOs worked with the communities to map out a better future in the face of climatic uncertainty. Social scientists relied most heavily on interviews, and the natural scientists upon water, biological and soil samples. Much more work is required, but momentum has developed so that education and skills training, and profitable rehabilitation of ecosystems with community ownership and redevelopment of food gardens are priority objectives. Significantly, community members who attended the feedback workshop concluded that, rather than wait for government handouts, they should develop a forum to play a leadership role to cope with food security in the face of climate change.
This project and publication has been produced as part of the START call for research on the theme of ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security’ in Africa, with an emphasis on the sustainability of ecosystem services in Africa. The funding has been provided by: US National Science Foundation; Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); and CDKN.
Ribbink, A.J. The Impact of Climate Change on Food Security Among Coastal Communities of Keiskamma, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Sustainable Seas Trust, (2012) 104 pp.