Namibia still at high risk of famine

Even an exceptional rainy season would only banish the spectre of famine after the next harvest, a global report on food security warns.

09 November 2016 | Disasters

Although some parts of Namibia have experienced good rains over the last few days, the country has been rated as being at high risk of food insecurity due to the prolonged drought and this crisis is expected to extend until at least March 2017.

The rating was issued by the Global Early Warning and Early Action Report on Food Security and Agriculture and covers the period October to December.

The report is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and aims to translate forecasts and early warnings into anticipatory action.

According to the report, humanitarian consequences of drought are severe in Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The situation is also severely stressed in Namibia and Botswana, it says.

“The crisis is expected to peak in the January to March 2017 period towards the end of the lean season,” it warns.

It further warns that there is a risk of further deterioration of food security in areas with limited food access and availability, and a protraction of the crisis into 2017/18, if livelihood recovery does not occur during the current planting

season.

Meanwhile an update about the regional situation also warns that the negative impacts of the worst drought in 35 years, which has caused a humanitarian crisis affecting 39 million people or 13% of the SADC population, continue to intensify.

It says several factors including depleted food reserves, rising food prices, lower commodity prices and slowing economic growth are exacerbating the situation.

According to the update, staple food prices are rising due to the generally poor crop production over the past two years. The regional cereal deficit currently stands at close to 7.4 metric tons and is 11% below the five-year average, dropping from 29 million tons in 2015 to 26 million tons this year.

The drought has also led to scarcity of water for human and animal consumption.

Over 600 000 head of livestock and some wildlife have been lost. In addition, water levels in major dams in the region have declined significantly, thereby affecting hydroelectric power generation, the update says.

It further states that about 74% of the U$2.9 billion required for the SADC Regional Humanitarian Appeal is yet to be raised. Only U$757 million has been raised by governments and partners.

According to the update Namibia still requires about 63% of its U$56.6 million appeal. Only U$20.8 million has been raised in support of the 595 983 people who require immediate assistance.

The early warning report recommends that initiatives need to be considered to support the current planting season. This should include provision of seed, in particular maize, fertiliser and other agricultural inputs.

The livestock sector also needs support. It is recommended that provision should be made for supplementary feed and water for livestock.

Veterinary support is necessary for weakened livestock to prevent further losses.

Support is needed for horticulture through the provision of seeds, small-scale water harvesting and drought-resilient gardening technologies. Food access should be improved to avoid further losses of assets until the end of the lean season.

The report warns that the consequences of a La Niña weather pattern on agriculture and food security can be both positive and negative.

The positive effects derive from the increased likelihood of above-average rainfall which could improve pasture and crop yields.

At the same time, it raises the risk of flooding and crop and livestock losses.

“Since La Niña would most likely impact regions that have already been affected by El Niño, the food security situation could further deteriorate and protract into 2018.”

In the event of a “positive” La Niña, it is important to highlight that the actual full effect of above-average rainfall will not be felt until the next harvest.

ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

Inferno reduces wholesaler to a pile of rubble

2 weeks ago - 02 April 2018 | Disasters

A major fire decimated the Swakopmund Metro Cash & Carry as well as the Metro Liquor branches early this morning, causing damages in the tens...

Rain causes havoc

2 months ago - 16 February 2018 | Disasters

Houses and household items of roughly 60 families were destroyed and blown away by heavy rains and winds over the weekend in the Burgershoek settlement...

Namibgrens robbers set fire to farmhouse

3 months ago - 02 January 2018 | Disasters

The home of the owner of the well-known Namibgrens Guest Farm near the Gamsberg Pass west of Windhoek went up in flames at around 02:30...

Water security still high on agenda

5 months ago - 30 October 2017 | Disasters

Water supply to Windhoek and the rest of central Namibia could be theoretically secured until 2020 subject to efficient water demand measures, a three-year model...

Harvey's path of destruction

7 months ago - 30 August 2017 | Disasters

More than three days after Harvey ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane, authorities had confirmed only three deaths - including a woman...

Government drafts disaster plan

7 months ago - 25 August 2017 | Disasters

Following several years of natural disasters of devastating floods and droughts that have struck the north-central areas of Namibia, an integrated drought and flood management...

Regional force to distribute food in Kunene

7 months ago - 25 August 2017 | Disasters

Roughly 1 000 military personnel are expected to participate in the Blue Kunene exercise that will distribute humanitarian aid in the Kunene Region from 20...

Zuma stays put

8 months ago - 09 August 2017 | Disasters

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has survived a motion of no confidence in his presidency, held via secret ballot in parliament.Following a two-hour debate and...

Water secure until 2020

8 months ago - 01 August 2017 | Disasters

With the available water resources, as well as the stipulated Windhoek water savings, NamWater is confident that the water security of the central region, particularly...

104 drought boreholes in limbo

8 months ago - 27 July 2017 | Disasters

The unused boreholes reported on by Namibian Sun last week were not drilled under the South African government's N$100 million donation to Namibia. That funding...

Latest News

Unam confers posthumous PhD

1 hour ago | Education

ILENI NANDJATOA University of Namibia lecturer who died last year was honoured with a posthumous doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree during the Unam northern campus’s...

NTTU commands all taxis to...

1 hour ago | Transport

JANA-MARI SMITH Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) boss Werner Januarie has urged all Windhoek taxi drivers to join a mass taxi strike on Monday,...

Purpose-eating allocation for trade

1 hour ago | Economics

Ndama Nakashole - There are no funds allocated towards the government’s equipment aid scheme this year, whose aim is to provide production machinery and equipment...

Tsumeb protest disrupts court proceedings

1 hour ago | Justice

CATHERINE SASMANMore than 100 angry protesters at Tsumeb nearly brought the magistrate’s court’s proceedings to a standstill yesterday when they descended on the court demanding...

Nghiwete defiant

1 hour ago | Government

CATHERINE SASMAN The suspended CEO of the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), Hilya Nghiwete, has demanded through her lawyer...

Africa briefs

1 hour ago | Economics

Mnangagwa says new investment law to open economyZimbabwe is working on a new investment law to open up the economy to foreign investors, President Emmerson...

Rape accused doctor gets N$15...

1 hour ago | Justice

A doctor accused of raping a 20-year-old woman in the Ongwediva area was yesterday granted bail of N$15 000 by the Oshakati Magistrate's Court. ...

Job portal fails

1 hour ago | Government

Only 20% of the 15 569 jobseekers who were registered on the Namibia Integrated Employment Information System (NIEIS) during the 2017/18 financial year found jobs.According...

Hanse-Himarwa on trial next month

1 hour ago | Justice

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa will go on trial on corruption charges at the end of May.Hanse-Himarwa yesterday appeared before the Windhoek High Court, where she...

Load More