About us

Who are we?

The Food Security and Safety (FSS) niche area consists of multi-disciplinary research expertise in Agriculture, Biological Sciences, and Environmental Sciences. The strategic aim is to conduct fundamental and applied research and to develop innovative methods of ensuring food security and safety. Through the facilitation of on-going access to safe and nutritious food, the entity is a leading research and development centre in the area of food security and safety on a regional, national and international levels. Working in close collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Department of Rural Development (DRD), the entity has identified the availability of, access to and utilisation of food as the three key issues relating to food security and safety.

In the face of climate change, FSS also examines the contribution of agricultural systems (production, marketing, processing and value-adding, technology, consumption) on household food security. Food safety and the application of beneficial rhizobacteria as bio-fertilisers, in particular, are also being investigated. The research deals with both the technical and socio-economic dynamics of food security. It develops strategies for the sustainable improvement of productive local crop and livestock systems of rural households – with the role of indigenous foods in household food security as a particular concern.

What is unique about us?

FSS focus on several areas on the contribution of the agricultural systems (production, marketing, processing and value-adding, technology, consumption) to household food security and safety. We research both technical and socio-economic dynamics of food security and develop strategies for sustainably improving the productivity of local crop and livestock systems within the reality of household possibilities and potential. Training of M & D and postdoctoral students underpins our agenda.

A number of our members, such as Prof OO Babalola, Prof CN Ateba, and Prof C Munyati, are NRF rated. Members’ qualification profiles include Ph.D. Microbiology, Soil Science, Agronomy, Agricultural Extension, Biomedical Sciences, Animal Nutrition, Agricultural Economics, Forestry and Natural Resources Science, and Forestry Soil.

We partner with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, National Research Foundation, South Africa, and Department of Science and Technology, South Africa.

Why should students/researchers choose to affiliate with us?

  • The training of Masters, Doctoral and postdoctoral students is high in the entity’s priority list.
  • We strengthen postgraduate training and research within the FSS study areas.
  • We produce leading research in the area of FSS not only in the province but nationally and internationally.
  • We develop innovative methods of ensuring FSS to provide opportunities for access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods to households and communities, especially those located in the semi-arid environments.
  • As an experienced and transdisciplinary team, we operate and maintain a high level of integrity, build strong collaboration and carefully guide our students to completion.
  • Virtually all of our postgraduate students are NRF bursary holders.
  • Several of our students are the top-performing students on campus.

Special achievements

Prof Olubukola O. Babalola, FSS director, is the Africa Vice President for the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World.