Rural Households Are Food Insecure

NAMIBIA will have to import more than half of its food requirements to supplement the national grain harvest, which was slashed by almost 50% by the just ended drought.

Addressing a training workshop on disaster risk management at Oshakati yesterday, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) country representative Babagana Ahmadu said about 28% of rural households are food insecure, while another 28% are moderately food insecure.

Ahmadu also said cereal production had declined sharply by 42% compared to the previous agriculture season and there is need for Namibia to import grain for the 2013-14 season.

“The year 2013 will always be remembered by Namibian farmers as one of the toughest and most challenging periods in 30 years, due to the debilitating and devastating drought still threatening the agricultural sector and the country’s food security,” said Ahmadu. The availability of water and pasture for livestock also worsened significantly, resulting in the highest number of livestock sold in the past 10 years.

Ahmadu suggested that to reduce future exposure, loss and damage caused by natural disasters, it is crucial to have risk reduction mainstreamed into the agricultural sector.

He said FAO is playing its part in this effort by proactively supporting member countries in mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into sectoral planning.

The Governor of Oshana, Clemens Kashuupulwa, commended FAO for the support the UN agency is giving to the country, saying the partnership will strengthen Namibia’s national capacities to deal with emergencies when they arise.

The aim of the workshop is to generate greater understanding, interest and action in disaster risk reduction and nutrition security in Namibia.

FAO and the Namibian government have agreed on the country programme framework to strengthen capacities of relevant stakeholders to apply prevention and mitigation measures to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience of communities at risk of threats and crises.

Source : The Namibian