'Locusts Are Now Our Beef': Adult Mortality and Household Dietary Use of Local Natural Resources in Rural South Africa

Lori M. Hunter, University of Colorado at Boulder
Wayne Twine, University of the Witwatersrand
Laura Patterson, University of Colorado at Boulder

There is a lack of research on the association between demographic dynamics and household use of natural resources. Such work is important because within the rural African context, natural resources act as a buffer against household shocks by offering both sustenance and income-generating potential. We focus on adult mortality, as a reflection of the impact of HIV/AIDS, and explore food security at the household level. Our quantitative data are from the Agincourt Health and Population Unit, a demographic surveillance site in an impoverished region of rural South Africa. Qualitative data from in-depth interviews supplement the analyses. Results suggest that adult mortality has important impacts on the maintenance of household food security and use of local natural resources. Time allocation is impacted as resource collection responsibilities shift, and local resources often substitute for previously purchased goods. Policy implications are explored.

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Presented in Poster Session 1