Food security assessed this month

The impact of natural disasters such as drought and pests on Namibia’s food supply will be studied this moth.

05 August 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The latest assessment to determine the status of livelihood and food insecurity countrywide is scheduled to take place this month.

Anna Dumeni of the Office of the Prime Minister says tat the food security and livelihood status in Namibia is determined by means of the Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (VAA) conducted twice a year, which is supported by the Crop Prospects and Food Security Situation Assessment Report.

The VAA conducted last year estimated that about 427 905 people were in severe acute food insecurity. The most affected regions were Kunene, Erongo, Khomas, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Omaheke, Zambezi, Kunene, part of Erongo and part of Omusati, which were supported with food relief due to prolonged droughts.

Dumeni made these remarks at a national dialogue on the status of food security in Namibia, which was in preparation for the United Nations Food Systems Summit that will take place in September.

Climate change

She said an increase in the frequency and intensity of weather and climate-related hazards has been observed in Namibia and globally.

Dumeni pointed out that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods have increased sharply over the years and that these conditions result in low food and livestock production.

She said Namibia has established a clear link between climate change, disaster and development.

“Government recognised that the reduction of climate and disaster risks is a foundation for sustainable development. Hence, the development of policy and legal framework to allow for implementation of risk reduction measures by offices/ministries/agencies.”

Pests and diseases

Dumeni added that key drivers of food insecurity last year were animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, Covid-19 restrictions, crop infestations, droughts, poverty and unemployment.

She further said that disasters experienced in 2020 had direct impact on agriculture.

“Locusts destroyed crops and vegetation resulting in food insecurity for both human and livestock, while lockdowns due to Covid-19 affected employment due to job losses and the availability of food and other commodities in the markets.”

Dameni added that changes in climate and increases in some extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, disrupt stability in the supply of food and people's livelihoods, making it more difficult for them to earn a stable income to purchase food.

“For example, thatching grass and forest resources become scarce during drought and too much inundation.”

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