Academic analyses the North West State of Province Address

A recent analysis by Dr Lindikaya W Myeki from the subject group Agricultural Economics and Extension at the North-West University (NWU) delved into the North West State of Province Address (NWSOPA), with a particular focus on food security issues.

The NWSOPA took place on 20 February 2024, and was presided over by acting premier Patrick Dumile Nono Maloyi.

Dr Myeki's examination juxtaposed the NWSOPA with the preceding State of the Nation Address (SONA). While both speeches acknowledged the importance of agriculture, they were found to inadequately address food security concerns.

Reflecting on this discrepancy, Dr Myeki suggests that although such events may not solely prioritise food security, their pronouncements are pivotal for shaping policies and practices in this domain.

“A comparison of the frequency of key terms revealed a stark difference between the SONA and NWSOPA. While 'agriculture' appeared once and 'food' twice in the SONA, the NWSOPA mentioned 'food security' only once, in the context of food gardens. Other food security-related matters in the NWSOPA included the restoration of vast land areas and substantial financial allocations to support agricultural initiatives,” he explains.

He says the question that arises is, what does this tell us about food security in the province?

To address the above question, Dr Myeki says it is crucial to note that food security consists of four main dimensions. The first is the physical, constant availability of adequate food supplies to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices. The second is accessibility – achieved through adequate income or resources that allow the purchase or acquisition of appropriate food products for a nutritious diet. Utilisation – which involves food preparation, hygiene practices, proper eating habits and diverse diet for all essential nutrients, are the third dimension. Stability, referring to uninterrupted food availability, access and utilisation over time, makes up the fourth dimension.

“The articulation of expenditure, the amount of land acquisition and beneficiaries not unique to the NWSOPA - in fact, it is very common in most state of the province addresses in South Africa. It demonstrates the seriousness with which the provincial governments treat the notion of food security.

“To some extent it also shows the potential of agriculture as an engine for growth and a solution to the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. However, such articulations are only limited to availability, a lesser problem compared to other dimensions (accessibility, utilisation, and stability) of food security. In most cases, they lack specific details regarding the agricultural output realised and the number of people who became food secured as a result of such efforts. In addition, these resources are often channeled towards the production of staples, thus encouraging a non-nutrition-sensitive agriculture,” says Dr Myeki.

He adds that food security remains a key priority on the global agenda, and this is the same for the North-West province in South Africa.

“A reasonable approach to food security could be to implement strategies that transcend the supply-side (availability) matched by investment in nutrition-sensitive farming. Such efforts are likely to produce the maximum impact desired for the attainment of food security (Sustainable Development Goals 1 & 2) in the province.”


Dr Lindikaya W Myeki is a senior lecturer in the subject group Agricultural Economics and Extension. He is an expert in agricultural productivity and efficiency, as well as a member of both the International Association of Agricultural Economics and African Association of Agricultural Economists.

Submitted on Wed, 03/20/2024 - 12:31