Select your Top Menu from wp menus
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
Household food security has deteriorated in various regions

Household food security has deteriorated in various regions

Staff Reporter

THE Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform has said that household food security has significantly deteriorated in various regions of the country due to a decline in agricultural production during the 2022/2023 season. This is according to the ministry’s Crop Prospects, Food Security, and Drought Situation Report for March 2024.

The report indicates that in major communal crop-producing areas, numerous households have exhausted their reserves from the previous season and now rely heavily on the market and drought relief assistance to access food. Nonetheless, there are still a few households reliant on the remaining stocks from the previous harvest, which are estimated to deplete by April 2024.

The agriculture ministry reported that statistically, the National Strategic Food Reserve (NSFR) stocks in various localities in the country as of 31st March 2024 are low, representing only 16% of the total holding capacity of 22,900 metric tons. This consists of 1,110.52 Metric Tons of white maize at Katima Mulilo, 2,164.05 Metric Tons of white maize at Rundu, and 484.40 metric tons of pearl millet at Okongo silo. Omuthiya and Tsandi silos are completely empty due to pearl millet sales to small-scale millers that do not have the capacity to import.

Furthermore, much of the grains that could have been stored in the silos are milled and distributed to needy people as part of the drought relief food assistance program through the Office of the Prime Minister. Another reason contributing to low intake of grains is the low production from farmers, which resulted from erratic and sporadic rainfall.

“Given the current situation where the production is forecasted to reduce, many households will face food insecurity. This came as a result of severe and prolonged dry spells, which were intense in the second half of the season, leading to the complete wilting of crops in most crop-producing regions. Under normal circumstances, the food security situation, especially in the communal crop-producing regions, improves between February and March when most seasonal green produce such as squashes, melons, legumes, fresh maize, etc., become available and ready for consumption. However, production of such crops is also severely affected by the erratic rainfall and not adequately available,” the agriculture ministry said.

Moreover, the report said that the household food security situation in southern, eastern, western, and central Namibia is also weakening due to ongoing drought conditions.

“Livestock farmers who depend on livestock farming for their sustenance predominantly inhabit these regions. This poses a considerable challenge as the pasture in these areas has been depleted and is insufficient to adequately support livestock. The Namibia 2023 Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis report projected that about 695,000 people (26% of the population analyzed) faced high levels of acute food insecurity between October 2023 and March 2024. This situation required urgent action to reduce food gaps and protect the livelihoods of the most affected population,” the agriculture ministry said in its report.

They concluded that the comprehensive nationwide drought humanitarian relief assistance food program in all fourteen (14) regions has been ongoing since 1st October 2023.

“This intervention is, however, set to end by 30th June 2024. Moreover, the distribution of the drought relief food reaches the beneficiaries late and not frequently, as it should be on a monthly basis. Some of the challenges include delayed deliveries from suppliers and unforeseen transport breakages, which take a while to be repaired. In addition to food assistance, the government is also implementing the Livestock Support Program in all regions from 01st October 2023 to 31st March 2024, to support mainly the livestock farmers,” the ministry said.

Related posts