Food security continued to weaken in 2019
Some drought-affected households simply cannot afford to buy food because they have no income.
31 December 2019 | Disasters
This is according to the Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Situation Report for December 2019, released by the Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry on Friday.
The report is aimed at assessing the overall agricultural inputs situation at household and regional levels and to find out the extent to which farmers are prepared for the just started cropping season in terms of land preparation.
It also assesses the changes in household food security, the marketing of the previous season's harvest, as well as water supply, livestock and grazing conditions.
It said the cost of food in Namibia has been reasonably low in the last six months with average monthly inflation of 3.9 percent.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, food prices in the country increased by four percent at the end of October 2019 when compared to the same period last year.
However, some of the drought-affected households do not have the necessary means to access food, simply because they do not have formal sources of income other than agriculture which had failed last season or are not covered by the social safety nets, it added.
“As such, these people are given priority to receive the drought relief food assistance from the government, though the food quantity is said to be insufficient,” the report states.
Over 289 644 people were found to be food insecure and needed immediate food assistance, it added, noting that the number is expected to rise during the course of the 2019/20 consumption period.
It said households are heavily dependent on the market for food access with some households receiving government drought relief food assistance to supplement their food needs.
The report recommended that regional councils with the assistance of village or traditional leaders should continue monitoring the households' food security and respond accordingly.