39% of Namibians hungry

15 August 2019 | Disasters

A shocking 39% of Namibians were severely food insecure by 2018, while 821.6 million people worldwide did not have enough food to eat, as hunger levels increase globally.

This is according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report, which says a total of two billion people experienced moderate or extreme food insecurity.

This year's report summarises the most recent trends in hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms, with an in-depth look at the impact of economic slowdowns.

The report said that for the third year in a row, there has been a rise in world hunger.

The absolute number of undernourished people, as well as those facing chronic food deprivation, increased to more than 821 million in 2018, from around 804 million in 2016. The report indicates that in Namibia severely food insecure people increased from 500 000 in 2006 to one million by last year, at a prevalence of 39% of the population.

“Hunger is on the rise in almost all African sub-regions, making Africa the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, at almost 20%,” the report says.





“The number has been increasing steadily in Africa, where it reached almost 260 million people in 2018, with more than 90% living in sub-Saharan Africa.”

In Namibia the prevalence of undernourishment is higher than the African average, standing at 27.3% and affecting 700 000 people.

In 2018, 7.3% of children under five (49.5 million) were affected by wasting (low weight for height), consequently putting them at higher risk of mortality.

The statistics indicate that in Namibia 7.1% of children under five were affected by wasting, which affected less than 100 000 children in the country.

Globally, the prevalence of stunting among children under five years is decreasing.

The number of stunted children has also declined by 10% over the past six years, but 149 million children are still stunted.

Africa shows the least progress in reducing the prevalence of stunting since 2012.

In 2018, Africa and Asia accounted for more than nine out of ten of all stunted children worldwide (54.9% and 39.5%, respectively). While the number of stunted children has declined by 10% over the last six years, the progress is too slow to achieve the 2030 target of a 50% reduction.

In Namibia the prevalence of stunting among children under five years old is 22.7%, with about 100 000 children affected.

The report, however, says that globally being overweight is increasing in all age groups, with particularly steep increases among school-age children and adults.

In Namibia the prevalence of obesity in adults is 15% and affects 200 000 people, while in children the prevalence rate is 12.9%, affecting less than 100 000 children.

According to the report, hunger has been increasing in many countries where economic growth is lagging.

“Strikingly, the majority of these countries are not low-income countries, but middle-income countries and countries that rely heavily on international trade of primary commodities. Economic shocks are also prolonging and worsening the severity of acute food insecurity in food crisis contexts.”

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report was jointly prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

ELLANIE SMIT

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