Food insecure decline by 68%

12 July 2018 | Local News

The number of food insecure people in Namibia has decreased by 68%, compared to the 2017/18 consumption year.

The food insecure population for 2018/19 in the country stands at 257 383, having decreased from 798 384 in the previous year.

This is the lowest it has been in the past five years, with the food insecure population having stood at 778 504 in 2013/14.

The State of Food and Nutrition Insecurity and Vulnerability in Southern Africa report indicates that 39% of rural Namibians are moderately food insecure and 1.4% severely food insecure.

In urban areas, 69.3% are food insecure and 1.1% severely food insecure.

According to the report the number of food insecure people in SADC in the 2018/19 consumption year is 29 million people, representing 14% of the population.

This is 13% higher, compared to 2017/18.

“The increasing food insecure population reverses the improvement in 2017/18, when the number fell to 27 million from 38 million in 2016/2017,” the report says.

Over the past ten years, the food insecure population in the region has remained above 22.7 million.

The report says with increasing climate-induced shocks, there needs to be urgent action and sustained resilience building or the food insecure population is likely to grow.

“Southern Africa is prone to climate change and variability, which adversely affects the food security and the livelihood of the population.”

Between 2014 and 2016, the region suffered its worst drought in 35 years, caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

“Below normal rainfall was experienced over most of the country, although floods were recorded in northern Namibia. Being an arid country, most Namibians depend on markets for their food, and staple prices are increasing.”

The report notes that global models run by international climate forecasting institutions predict an El Niño phenomenon during the 2018/19 season.

El Niño has historically been associated with the more frequent occurrence of below average rainfall in the central and southern parts of the region, while the north-eastern parts have historically experienced a more frequent occurrence of above average rainfall during El Niño years.

The report stresses that considering the forecast of El Niño in the 2018/19 season, intensified preparatory interventions are needed that mitigate the potential impacts of mid-season dry spells on crop production, especially in areas traditionally affected by El Niño.

This may include, but is not limited to, the use of drought-tolerant crop varieties, the promotion of conservation agriculture and the installation and maintenance of irrigation equipment.

The report makes short, medium and long-term recommendations to address chronic food and nutrition insecurity and vulnerability, including building the resilience of people, communities and institutions to prevent, anticipate, prepare for, cope with, and recover from shocks.



ELLANIE SMIT

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