596,000 people at peril of facing hunger
The Economic Association of Namibia (EAN), in partnership with the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), earlier this week hosted a business breakfast briefing to assess the food security situation, with plans to combat hunger and the current drought response.
The conference held discussions on the future role of the fight against hunger in Namibia’s economic development
In his statement, Suta Kavari, chairperson of the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) noted that the country had suffered three significant droughts over the past four years. “According to an assessment published by the National Early Warning and Food Information Unit in May and June 2016, approximately 596,000 Namibians face the distinct possibility of hunger and are in need of food assistance.
Food security has become one of the pressing policy concerns for both government and civil society. Food insecurity is detrimental to the economy and society at large, both in the short term and in the long term,” Kavari explained.
Japhet Iitenge, Director of Disaster Risk Management, laid the groundwork of the briefing, she gave an analysis of the current state of food security and provided insights into the response measures being implemented.
Iitenge said that Namibia is food secure at national level, but however noted that households continue to experience food shortages affecting the well being of ordinary people. He explained that 30% of children are stunted and advised that policies be drawn up that ensure Household Food Security.
Jennifer Bitonde, Representative and Country Director for the World Food Programme (WFP) provided insights and presented case studies similar to Namibia where food insecurity was tackled, and what evidence-based solutions existed to tackle the issue of food insecurity. Bitonde said that the targets set to alleviate hunger in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) were not reached by 2015 as 27.7% population in sub-Saharan Africa still goes hungry. She further detailed that only 7 African countries out of 72 countries worldwide were able to alleviate hunger in the MDG’s.