More than 800 000 Namibians face food shortage

28 Aug 2015 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 28 AUG (NAMPA) - More than 800 000 Namibians are facing food shortages that will require nutritional assistance for up to next year March.
This is contained in the latest Rural Food Security and Livelihood Vulnerability Assessment Report for 2015/2016, compiled by the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management in the Office of the Prime Minister and released in July this year.
“It is concluded that most parts of Namibia have experienced severe drought that results in 307 316 people facing food deficit that will require food assistance up to March 2016. About 578 480 people are facing livelihood protection deficit, hence unable to meet other non-food essential household items such as water and drugs for livestock, ploughing services, health care, and education amongst others,” it warned.
Namibia's population is about 2.3 million people.
The report highlighted that maize meal of 36 940 metric tonnes is needed for about 890 000 people who need food assistance.
It emphasized that poor rainfall in several parts of the country have resulted in poor pasture and lack of water for livestock, affecting crop and milk production and prices of livestock due to poor livestock conditions.
The ban on livestock movement due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth (FMD) in the northern parts of the country has also resulted in reduced income from livestock. In addition, poor grazing conditions are threatening livestock production, according to the report.
The Namibia Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Nam-VAC) has pointed out several challenges with the tractor services that force farmers to opt for the expensive privately owned tractors (charging N.dollars 350 per hectare) rather than using Government tractors (charging N.dollars 120 per hectare).
The main reason cited is that Government tractor owners prefer to provide ploughing services to those paying cash necessary for fuelling and maintenance instead of delayed payment by Government.
Under short-term mitigation measures to be implemented, the report suggested that the price of maize meal in particular at local level should be closely monitored. Under the long-term solutions, the report recommended that the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, in consultation with other institutions, identify and implement climate smart projects to address chronic vulnerability, targeting the very poor.
“The root cause of food and livelihood insecurity in most of the affected populations is chronic vulnerability as a result of poverty. Hence, in addition to the impact of natural hazards on the livelihood of the rural communities, chronic vulnerability or poverty is a contributing factor to survival and livelihood insecurity,” it added.