Household food security worsens
A government report paints a grim picture of food availability in Namibian homes, a consequence of successive droughts.
06 January 2020 | Agriculture
This is despite the prospect of normal rainfall that has been predicted by the Meteorological Services for January, February and March.
“Household food security continued to weaken, particularly in the rural areas, as most households are reported to have no food reserves left following a failed agricultural production due to severe and devastating drought conditions experienced last season,” the report said.
“Consequently, households are heavily dependent on the market for food access with some households receiving government drought relief food assistance to supplement their food requirements,” it added.
Despite the grim outlook for food security, food prices are still low, the report said.
“The cost of food in Namibia has been reasonably low in the last six months with an average monthly inflation of 3.9%. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, (NSA) food prices in the country increased by 4% by end of October 2019 when compared to the same period last year,” the report said.
According to the ministerial report, low food prices did not necessarily translate to food security, though.
“The issue is about the access to food in the local market, as 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.
“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 said.
According to the Namibian Vulnerability Assessment Committee first round report (NAMVAC, 2019), over 289 644 people were found to be food insecure and needed immediate food assistance. This number is expected to rise during the course of the 2019/2020 consumption period.