Namibia marks World Food Day

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Anna Shiweda said if people on the globe are to live on healthy diets, the nations must produce needed nutritious foods and make it affordable and accessible.

Shiweda said this at the celebration of World Food Day held at Odibo village in the Ohangwena Region’s Oshikango Constituency on Friday.

She said the 2020 World Food Day should remind the nations of the plight of people across the globe, who are unable to benefit from the immense resources and abundant wealth the world offers.

“I am talking about people who cannot meet their basic human needs such as access to sufficient nutritious food, shelter, health care and education,” the deputy minister stated.

She went on to say the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN) State of Food Security and Nutrition (SOFI) 2020 Report reveals that three billion people in the world cannot afford a healthy diet.

Chronic hunger, she said, continued to increase over the past four years and stood at 690 million in 2019, while 10 million more hungry people have been added to the list in just one year.

Additionally, Shiweda said, two billion people globally did not have access to safe nutritious and sufficient food last year.

According to her, it is estimated that with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the statistics of food-insecure people could increase between 83 and 132 million.

Addressing the same commemoration, UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, Sen Pang noted that worldwide disasters, conflict and insecurity, along with climate shocks and economic turmoil, are the main drivers of hunger.

“Many people are fleeing conflict and have been forced to abandon their land, homes and jobs,” stated the UN diplomat, saying that COVID-19 has added to the said challenges.

Pang believes the economic disruption linked to the COVID-19 pandemic may push another 130 million people on the globe into hunger by the end of the year.

It is estimated that some 420 000 people or 18 per cent of the population, are facing food insecurity and the figure is expected to increase by a further 14 000 in the next six months, said Pang.

Source: Namibia Press Agency