12 700 Namibians unable to afford healthy diet

25 November 2021 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

More than 12 700 people, almost 0.51% of the Namibian population, cannot afford a healthy diet, while another 3 493 will join the ranks if further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third.

This is according to a new report released this week by the United Nations food agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The 2021 State of Food and Agriculture report, titled ‘making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and stresses’, stated that without proper preparation, unpredictable shocks will continue to undermine these systems.

Globally, approximately three billion people, almost 40% of the world’s population, can already not afford a healthy diet, with another billion at risk if their salaries are reduced by one-third due to unforeseen events, the report said.

The FAO stressed the need for countries to make their systems more resilient to sudden shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which played a large part in the latest global hunger surge.

“The pandemic highlighted both the resilience and the weakness of our agrifood systems,” FAO director-general Qu Dongyu added.

Shocks more frequent

Agrifood systems, the web of activities involved in the production of food and non-food agricultural products and their storage, processing, transportation, distribution and consumption, produce 11 billion tonnes of food a year and employ billions of people directly or indirectly.

The FAO underscored the urgency of strengthening their capacity to endure shocks, including extreme weather events and surges in plant and animal diseases and pests.

It said while food production and supply chains have historically been vulnerable to climate extremes, armed conflicts or increases in global food prices, the frequency and severity of these shocks are on the rise.

Moreover, a disruption to critical transport links could push food prices up for some 845 million people.

While low-income countries generally face much greater challenges, middle-income countries are also at risk.

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