Food security is threatened by drought: Nandi-Ndaitwah

16 Aug 2016 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 16 AUG (NAMPA) - Namibia continues to make great inroads in the implementation of the 2003 Maputo Commitment which requires African leaders to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budgets to agriculture.
Namibia is above 11 per cent, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said on Monday during the official opening of the 2016 African Drought Conference currently underway in the capital.
“Putting together allocations to agriculture, fisheries, rural development and other sectors that support food production activities we are above 11 per cent. Nevertheless, due to drought, our food security is threatened,” she said.
This percentage represents over N.dollars 7 billion of the total N.dollars 66 billion 2015/16 budget allocation towards agriculture.
“Given Namibia’s fragile, arid or semi-arid environment, droughts are becoming a regular occurrence in our country and are set to become more frequent and severe with the advent climate change become more intense.”
As a result, a drastic increase in food aid beneficiaries in the country has been observed.
“In Namibia, in the year 2014/15, the government had to feed over 413 900 people; 2015/16 556 447 people; and in 2016/17 will have to feed 595 839 up to March 2017,” said the minister.
She noted that Namibia has put in place a National Drought Policy and Strategy, an Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, as well as a Disaster Risk Management Act, but there is still much to be done for an improved drought management and coordination system.
Nandi-Ndaitwah added that more efforts are thus needed to ensure sustainability of the ongoing Drought Relief Food Programme to reach the next rainy season in March next year.
In total, Government needs more than N.dollars 649 million to feed the current demand for drought aid. In southern Africa alone, an estimated N.dollars 39.7 billion (US$3 billion) is required to assist countries affected by the drought.
“We all have a role to play to overcome this shortfall and I encourage our international partners, local and multi-national corporations to assist us in this regard.”
The conference started on Monday and ends Friday under the theme ‘Enhancing Resilience to Drought Events on the African Continent’.