25 Aug 2013 08:50
WINDHOEK, 25 AUG (NAMPA) Namibia's current drought situation is also affecting people living in urban areas, with the resultant chronic malnutrition in the country affecting many children below the age of five, Windhoek Deputy Mayor Muesee Kazapua said at the weekend.
Kazapua, who recently had a chance to study successful models of providing food security during a brief stay in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, made this statement in a media release availed to Nampa here on Sunday.
He said Namibia, although ranked as an upper-middle-income country, still grapples with perennial food deficits, recurring droughts and floods, which results in high rates of chronic malnutrition.
Kazapua also noted that a large number of people are currently facing food insecurity amidst Namibia's harshest dry spell in a generation experienced this year.
He expressed some disappointment that local authorities have not been actively involved in food security programmes in Namibia.
This is unacceptable. We should be able to tackle this problem fundamentally by promoting urban food security projects and turn Windhoek into a role model for other African cities to learn from, said Kazapua.
The Namibian Government declared a state of emergency after the failure of crops and poor harvest in May this year, and thereafter started distributing food relief stuffs to the most drought-hit areas in the Kunene Region.
The study tour to Brazil for Kazapua and Windhoek Mayor Agnes Kafula, was organised and funded by the World Future Council, in close collaboration with the city of Belo Horizonte.
The tour brought together representatives of four African cities with the people who run Belo Horizontes food security programmes.
Kazapua and kafula shared the experience with delegations from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Bangangté, Cameroon and Kitwe, Zambia, who also participated in this knowledge transfer tour.
This study tour was an eye-opener, as it brought about a better understanding of the role of local authorities in food security, the importance of establishing municipal food banks and the minimisation of food waste, Kazapua said.
In 2009, Belo Horizonte received the World Future Councils Future Policy Award for its exemplary food security programme.
The programme was lauded as the world's most comprehensive policy that tackles hunger immediately and secures a healthy food supply for the future.