To win the war against hunger, only have children that you can take care of
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ranks Namibia at 53 out of 120 countries assessed in its 2013 Global Hunger Index. Namibia had an index score of 18.4, “indicating a serious food problem”. The country’s food insecurity is fuelled by recurrent natural disasters such as drought and floods which affect crop production.
In its report ‘Emergency Food Assessment in Communal and Resettlement Areas of Namibia published in May 2013, the WFP indicates that both livestock and crop production has been affected by low rainfall. Last year, crop production was estimated to have reduced by 48% as a result of the drought.
To decrease dependence on imports from South Africa and increase local food security the government has implemented the Green Scheme Programme. This programme which aims to increase irrigation agronomy, covers 9429 hectares of which 3435 ha are in the //Kharas, Kavango, Zambezi and Omusati regions.
Amplifying the Green Scheme Programme, the government has established irrigation projects among the main perennial rivers and below the large dams. These projects include the Kalimbeza Rice Project, Shadikongoro Irrigation project, Ndonga Linena Irrigation Project, Orange River Irrigation Project and the Mashare Irrigation Project, amongst others.
A ‘Dry Land Crop Production Programme’ is also being implemented to promote food security at household level by providing animals, fertiliser, seeds, ripping, weeding, planting and ploughing tools. Farmers in the Kavango regions, Zambezi, Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati and Kunene have benefitted from this programme.
“Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition can only be achieved if we all jointly put our hands together from all aspects of life with the aim of ending world hunger and food insecurity in our country and globally,” said Paulus Ephraim, councillor of Karasburg, at the commemoration of World Food Day in Warmbad, last week.
Ephraim said World Food day is celebrated annually to bring to the fore, the plight of all those who suffer from hunger and to create awareness and understanding of food security and nutritional issues.
“In our quest to attain food security and nutrition, World Food Day celebrates the commitments made to ending hunger in the world,” he said.
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, 63 developing countries have reached the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of the chronically undernourished by 2015. “What their stories tell us is that to win the war against hunger we need political commitment, a holistic approach, social participation and family farming,” said Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the FAO, in a statement.
“Around 500 million of the world’s 570 million farms are run by families. They are the main caretakers of our natural resources. As a sector, they form the world’s largest employer, supply more than 80% of the world’s food and prosper in dairy, poultry and pig production,” said da Silva.
World Food Day is celebrated annually on 16 October in commemoration of the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The theme for World Food Day 2014 was “Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth.”