By Maggy Thomas UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, 24 SEP (NAMPA) -
President Hage Geingob has appealed to farmers to each give two cattle per year as their contribution towards the envisaged food bank as Namibia embarks on the war against poverty.
The Namibian government is in the process of establishing a food bank that will provide for hundreds of families struggling to put food on their tables.
In an interview with AllAfrica Magazine Chief Executive Officer, Reed Kramer here on Thursday, Geingob said he has declared 'all-out' war on poverty in Namibia and his government is going to set up all kinds of means aimed at eradicating poverty.
In Namibia, there are about 4 000 commercial farms with all kinds of cattle and beasts and wild animals, which, he said, does not mean all farmers will contribute.
"But, I have appealed to the farmers to contribute to set up the food bank by giving two cattle per year and they are responding very well," he said.
The Namibian leader also appealed to the fishing industry to contribute and join the efforts to eradicate poverty. He said Namibia is rated as a high-income country by the International Monetary Fund, but many people in Namibia are still poor.
"The global community knows what it is doing. They take gross domestic product (GDP) divide it with the population and get the per capita income. They indicated that Namibia's problem is just a question of inequality in distribution. That is why they refused to list Namibia as a least-developed country. They use that benchmark, that is what they do all over the world," he explained.
Geingob said in reality, the majority of people are still poor in Namibia, and Namibians must accept that.
"Let us use the system they are using- You cannot last for too long because as long as those people are poor, they will rise up one day and all that is seen as peaceful will be up in flames. That's why we say, let us declare war against poverty and address that issue," he said.
The president was confident that Namibians will help fight poverty because he said the mood is good in the country.
"People are really joining the efforts to eradicate poverty," he said proudly.
During his maiden State of the Nation address early this year, Geingob said "in the Namibian house, no child should go hungry".
"I am committed to the introduction of a food bank. The willingness of several farmers to get involved in this initiative on a voluntary basis is indicative of how Namibians recognise that we will only eradicate poverty if we work together. Let us allow the spirit of Harambee to manifest itself for the good of all Namibians," he said.
Geingob added that the reason the new Ministry of Poverty Eradication was formed is primarily to co-ordinate all aspects hereto and harness the political will of Government and the goodwill of Namibians as a toll in the eradication of poverty.
The City of Windhoek has allocated land in Katutura to construct the food bank. The envisaged food bank will collect and distribute food to those in need. The concept, which was first launched in the United States of America (USA) in the late 1960s, has proven successful in preventing hunger and starvation amongst citizens.
The Office of the Prime Minister was in 2012 instructed by Cabinet to constitute a multi-stakeholder task force to investigate the possibility of setting up food banks in urban areas.
According to the government, food banks will help alleviate hunger and provide for the basic needs of vulnerable people in Namibia by soliciting, collecting and packaging food, clothes, educational materials and other basic necessities for vulnerable people.