Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 394

Full Length Research Paper

Global environmental change and food systems in Southern Africa: The dynamic challenges facing regional policy

  S. Drimie1*, J. Arntzen2, P. Dube3, J. S. I. Ingram4, R. T. Mano5, C. Mataya6, M. T. Muchero7, E. Vhurumuku8 and G. Ziervogel9  
  1Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, Gauteng, South Africa. 2Centre for Applied Research, P. O. Box 70180, Gaborone, Botswana. 3Department of Environmental Science, University of Botswana, P. B. UB 0704, Gaborone, Botswana. 4GECAFS International Project Office, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK. 5Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Zimbabwe, P. O. Box MP167, Mt. Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe. 6The Polytechnic, University of Malawi, P/B 303, Blantyre 3, Malawi. 7MT Muchero Management Consultancy Services, P. O. Box MP556, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe. 8World Food Programme, WFP/UN Place, P. O. Box 54, Gaborone, Botswana. 9Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 March 2011
  •  Published: 30 April 2011



There is a growing concern that Global environmental change (GEC) will exacerbate the stress on Southern African food systems leading to increasing food insecurity, which is signified by rising levels of chronic and severe malnutrition and rates of stunting in children. The situation is further exacerbated by insufficient understanding on how the region’s food systems currently operate, in which ways they are vulnerable to GEC and what types of adaptation options are most likely to be viable at present and in the future. This paper identifies key research challenges to food system vulnerability and the impacts of GEC; policy and technical adaptation options; and possible consequences of different adaptation pathways, set in the context of regional socioeconomic and environmental conditions.


Key words: Southern Africa, food security, global environmental change (GEC), policy formulation, food systems.