Food bank to be operational this year: Kameeta

04 Feb 2016 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 04 FEB (NAMPA) – The envisaged food bank will be operational this year, the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Zephania Kameeta says.
He made the announcement on Thursday during the five-day post-election seminar for Members of Parliament (MPs) here on Thursday.
The seminar commenced on Monday and is designed to equip new MPs with knowledge and skills on how Parliament works and what is expected of them.
Kameeta did, however, not specify when construction of the food bank will commence. He told Nampa after the presentation that his ministry will not be responsible for the actual erection of the building, adding that tenders for the construction have not yet been issued.
During his address to MPs he noted that various storage facilities for dry food will be implemented to start with the distribution of dry food in due course as part of the project. Coaxed for an explanation, he told this agency the ministry is looking at the feasibility and viability of the now-defunct Ramatex garment factory in the Otjomuise residential area of the capital for several reasons, including using it as a storage facility among other venues in Windhoek earmarked for the same purpose.
“The ministry has a coordinated role towards ensuring that all relevant strategies are effectively implemented,” the minister said.
He urged local authority councillors to foster and inspire collaborative relationships with the people they serve, in a bid to sensitise them to spearhead individual initiatives towards poverty eradication.
“It is not just the government’s job to eradicate poverty, and if you are waiting for Kameeta to come to your region to eradicate poverty then you can forget about it,” he noted.
Kameeta said his ministry will create a central database for easier access of information to fast-track the implementation of programmes and policies of the ministry.
Government has in the past received its fair share of criticism and condemnation for its alleged weak efforts to fight poverty, after reports of people eating at dumpsites in the capital and elsewhere surfaced.
One such area was the Kupferberg dumpsite on the outskirts of the capital, where locals scavenged for rotten and expired foodstuff dumped by local retailers and supermarkets.
Food banks are therefore expected to 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.
Last year, during his maiden state-of-the-nation address, President Hage Geingob endorsed the introduction of the food bank, urging farmers and individuals to voluntarily contribute towards the bank.
The City of Windhoek has allocated land between the Swapo-party head office and the Red Cross shopping centre in Katutura for the food bank.
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 among citizens.