Food bank pilot programme to address hunger in the Khomas Region has been effective – Minister
The Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Zephania Kameeta said the Food Bank initiative, introduced as a pilot project in the Khomas Region in 2016, has been effective in addressing hunger especially to beneficiaries with no formal employment, given the current socio-economic situation of the country.
According to Kameeta about 90% of the beneficiaries in Khomas region were food insecure before the food bank intervention he said during the launch of the Food Bank programme in the Oshikoto region this week.
“After the introduction of the Food Bank, 62% of those that were food insecure, are now food secure. In terms of financial sustainability, the food bank programme will be affordable within the current budgetary allocations for the next three years, taking into account a 10% inflationary increase,” Kameeta said.
Kameeta further noted that the conclusion of the pilot phase of the Khomas region food programme, about 15,519 households representing a total of 67,987 individuals were benefiting from the food bank in the seven constituencies of the Khomas region.
However, after internal revision of the list of beneficiaries, especially in line with the preliminary figures of the National Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2015/16 and the findings from the UNAM evaluation report, the number of households was reduced by more than 5, 000 households.
Kemeeta stressed that in this regard, his ministry, in consultation with key stakeholders, has come up with more stringent criteria to ensure that only those confronted by extreme hunger poverty, benefit from the Food Bank initiative.
The process of re-registering of food bank beneficiaries in the Khomas region has been completed. Consequently, the revised criteria are used in the identification of beneficiaries as the Ministry embarks on the roll-out of Food Bank to other regions.
“I want to make it clear that we set criteria to guide and help us to make informed decisions. However the criteria we set ourselves should not be seen as cast in stone; especially in the case of poverty eradication, we cannot hide behind criteria or rules and let people die from starvation; this will defeat the whole purpose of the President when he called for the establishment of Food Bank. Therefore, we should be creative, pro-active and most importantly empathetic when dealing with the less fortunate of our society,” Kameeta added.
According to the latest audit report by auditor general Junias Kandjeke, the poverty eradication ministry underspent its budget for the 2018/19 financial year by N$24,2 million.