Food Bank to Open This Year – OPM

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has revealed that the much-awaited food bank aimed at alleviating hunger amongst impoverished communities in the country will open its doors before the end of the year.

The food bank initiative was initiated in 2012 after revelations of hundreds of people scavenging for rotten and stale food at the Kupferburg dumpsite in Windhoek, which left government and the general public severely embarrassed.

The media reports in 2012 indicated the magnitude of food insecurity not only in rural areas but also in urban centres such as Windhoek and other towns.

At the time, the Cabinet Committee on Overall Policy and Priorities met and instructed the OPM to coordinate all stakeholders to search for a tangible and substantive solution.

The Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku in an interview on Monday said the much-awaited food bank was at an aanced stage with only legal issues to be finalised before hunger-stricken communities can eventually access the food.

He also revealed the food bank will be located at the drought relief centre.

“Experts are working on the legal framework. We are hopeful that all modalities will be done by either August or September. But we are at an aanced stage of organising ourselves. I was told we only need to take care of some legal issues,” Hausiku revealed.

Asked where the food to be banked will come from, he said government had reached an agreement with local retailers that they won’t trash food they may want to discard but rather donate it to the food bank, on condition that the food is still consumable.

“This food will then be accessed by institutions that are assisting communities, such as churches and other registered institutions, to distribute to those registered needy people. We have identified a place at the drought relief centre to start the food bank,” said the veteran politician.

The drought relief programme, he said, ended officially in March because many people had harvested crops.

“But there are still areas where we need to distribute food. We are now collecting information on regions still affected by drought such as Kunene.”

Hausiku said although Kupferburg has been fenced off to prevent people scavenging there, government’s ultimate goal is to create capacity within local structures to face the challenges of urbanisation and food and nutrition insecurity.

Hence he urged regional and local authorities to ensure they identify food banks in their areas where food that is still edible can be stored to fight food insecurity.

He also urged people to make use of the land in their regions to produce food instead of just flocking to cities and towns where they end up exposed to extreme poverty, unemployment and food insecurity.

Source : New Era