THE devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on household incomes is forcing a large percentage of the Namibian population into food insecurity and hunger.
An increase in prices for various consumer goods due to restrictive import measures, combined with job losses as a result of punitive measures taken by the business sector to sustain business, has contributed to the increased threat of hunger in a growing number of households.
In a report published by the Namibia Employers Federation about a study that was done along with the Survey Warehouse and the International Labour Organization (ILO), it said that the impact on Namibian households was significant and that it could get worse.
The study found that Namibian households are struggling to cope because people have experienced reductions in income mainly as a result of retrenchments or reductions in salary and wages.
Most people that participated in the survey reported difficulties in meeting financial commitments and many expect problems with food security.
Most households that had savings have used some or all of it.
To make ends meet, most households will turn to family and friends.
This situation is not sustainable as even more households will have their resources diminished, meaning that they will be less able to help others.
The study found that many households are likely to run out of resources sometime in the near future, which will cause them to look for financial support from those close to them in the form of either a donation or a loan.
“There is evidence that household income from salaries is declining and that it will continue to decline,” the report states.
The study found that many households have changed their usual shopping behaviour to adapt to the changes in their income and general uncertainty about the future.
It resulted in less frequent shopping and fewer groceries being bought.
According to the study, the situation could get worse in the next few months as food insecurity is set to increase towards the start of the planting season in November in rural areas, and food prices are set to increase due to COVID-19 disruptions to various supply chains.
The data shows that many households are anticipating this; stating that they are likely to run out of resources sometime in the near future.
The study found that household members are also under growing psychological pressure as a result of these factors.