Household food security a big concern

14 Jan 2014 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 14 JAN (NAMPA) - Household food security has weakened throughout the country, especially in the northern regions where most households have reportedly depleted their harvests from last year.
This is according to the Agricultural Input and Household Food Security Report released by the National Early Warning and Food Information System (NEWFIU) on Monday.
The report said households are now dependent on the market and drought relief foods for food access.
Households which were interviewed said last season’s harvest only lasted until July or August.
The report further explained that some households could not harvest anything from their crop fields because of the severe drought conditions.
The household food security situation in the North East (Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi Regions) is worsening, while the north central region’s (Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati) food security situation is noted to be weakening. There, most households interviewed indicated that they have depleted their harvest from the last season and are currently making use of the market and Government drought relief foods for food access.
The report further stated that further interventions were made to find a way around the food insecurity amongst most households.
These interventions included Government starting a food distribution programme to needy people who were affected by the drought. This programme started at the beginning of August 2013 and is set to end in March this year.
“The Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) and the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) has implemented a supplementary feeding programme,” it said, adding that the Soup Kitchen programme provides hot meals to the most vulnerable people in all the regions.
The targeted vulnerable groups included malnourished children, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), the elderly, chronically ill and people living with HIV/AIDS who are on antiretroviral treatment.
The report further said Government is also allocating food items to both the CCN and NRCS for the Soup Kitchen Programme.
Another intervention was cash transfers targeting highly food insecure people living in locations with access to resilient markets, and those who are not benefiting from the regular food distributions.
The programme is being implemented by Act Alliance-Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and is currently active in the Hardap, Kunene, Omusati and Kavango East Regions.
The Ministry of Education’s school feeding programme seeks to improve the dietary intake of children whose households have difficulties accessing food.
Monthly grants are also given to senior citizens over the age of 60 years to help them afford basic needs and services to improve their living standards.
The report said it is recommended that the drought relief programme should be focused on the most vulnerable groups until the affected people are able to regain their normal livelihoods, pending the outcomes of the 2013/2014 agricultural production.