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Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1234-1255; doi:10.3390/su5031234
Article

The Future of the Food System: Cases Involving the Private Sector in South Africa

Received: 3 December 2012; in revised form: 7 March 2013 / Accepted: 8 March 2013 / Published: 19 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Chains)
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Abstract: The food system is facing unprecedented pressure from environmental change exacerbated by the expansion of agri-food corporations that are consolidating their power in the global food chain. Although Africa missed the Green Revolution and the wave of supermarket expansion that hit the West and then spread to Asia and Latin America, this is unlikely to continue. With a large proportion of sub-Saharan African countries’ GDP still heavily reliant on agriculture, global trends in agri-food business are having an increasing impact on African countries. South Africa, a leader in agribusiness on the continent, has a well-established agri-food sector that is facing increasing pressure from various social and environmental sources. This paper uses interview data with corporate executives from South African food businesses to explore how they are adapting to the dual pressures of environmental change and globalisation. It shows that companies now have to adapt to macro-trends both within and outside the formal food sector and how this in turn has repercussions for building sustainable farming systems—both small and large-scale. It concludes with the recognition that building a sustainable food system is a complex process involving a diversity of actors, however changes are already being seen. Businesses have strategically recognised the need to align the economic bottom line with social and environmental factors, but real sustainability will only happen when all stakeholders are included in food governance.
Keywords: food system; food value chains; global environmental change; socio-ecological systems; food security; governance; corporate strategy food system; food value chains; global environmental change; socio-ecological systems; food security; governance; corporate strategy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pereira, L.M. The Future of the Food System: Cases Involving the Private Sector in South Africa. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1234-1255.

AMA Style

Pereira LM. The Future of the Food System: Cases Involving the Private Sector in South Africa. Sustainability. 2013; 5(3):1234-1255.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pereira, Laura M. 2013. "The Future of the Food System: Cases Involving the Private Sector in South Africa." Sustainability 5, no. 3: 1234-1255.


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