Zero Hunger Strategic Review underway in Okahandja

23 Feb 2016 21:10pm
OKAHANDJA, 23 FEB (NAMPA) - The obligation to ensure a Namibia free of hunger and malnutrition is a collective responsibility involving the government, private sector, civil society, development partners and communities.
These were the remarks of Minister of Economic Planning and Director-General of the National Planning Commission, Tom Alweendo on Tuesday during the two-day Zero Hunger Strategic Review Validation meeting in Okahandja.
The Zero Hunger Strategic Review was launched last September to support Government’s priority to achieve a hunger-free Namibia by 2025.
“Food insecurity and malnutrition in Namibia has stood in the way of the country’s development as a nation and in respect to Namibia being placed amongst the least performing countries in the world,” he said.
Alweendo also said as part of the government’s National Development Plan 4 (NDP4), one of the goals is to fight poverty in Namibia, and this particular programme of Zero Hunger Strategic Review falls well within NDP4.
“Where, for example, you want to increase food security and where you want to do more research on the cause of hunger, sometimes you may just end up treating the symptoms without knowing the real cause of what it is you are trying to address, and therefore researching more into the issues is going to help us,” he explained.
Also speaking at the meeting, Special Advisor in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Bience Gawanas said the food security situation in Namibia is characterised by extreme variability in levels of food production, large volumes of coarse grain imports, and disparity in household income levels.
“Food insecurity is mainly linked to structural poverty compounded by recurrent climate extreme events such as drought and floods which are increasingly a result of climate change,” she noted.
Gawanas added that the State Food Insecurity in the World 2015 ranked Namibia amongst those with high rates of undernourishment pegged at 42.3 per cent, and unemployment was estimated at 28.1 per cent in 2013.
“Poverty levels has also remained high at 28.1 per cent and is more widespread in rural areas, impacting negatively on the rural livelihoods,” she explained.
Gawanas noted that limited access to resources to purchase or grow food is why many Namibians go hungry every day.
The Zero Hunger Strategic Review was attended by United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Kiki Ghebo, representatives of other UN agencies, Government ministries and regional authorities, and members of the private sector.
The meeting ends Wednesday.