Drought aggravates food insecurity, says //Hoabes

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Deputy Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Christina //Hoabes yesterday said food insecurity in the country is a major concern because of recurrent natural hazards, persistent drought conditions and income inequality.

“With predictions of persistent harsh climatic conditions in Namibia, dry conditions are expected to continue affecting households that depend on rain-fed agriculture, eroding their ability to cope with the impact of natural disasters,” she said.

The deputy minister said achieving food security through local food production will remain a challenge and the country may yet continue to rely on food imports for some time to meet its food requirements.

“This means commodity prices will be at the mercy of external factors, such as conflicts, foreign exchange rates and food prices in the region and beyond. Our role as government is to ensure that high food prices do not continue to put pressure on vulnerable households’ coping capacity,” //Hoabes said.

She made the remarks at the closure of the Zero Hunger Strategic Review workshop that started on Tuesday and ended yesterday. The workshop looked at the food and nutrition situation in the country and a roadmap to eradicate hunger was adopted.

Discussing the overall conclusions of the meeting Bience Gawanas, special advisor to the Minister of Health and Social Services, said one of the issues that emerged very clearly is the lack of coordination.

The workshop attendees did not look at developing new policies, but rather how current policies can be strengthened, she explained.

“We do not always do impact assessments on our policies and programmes to really know what is the impact and then to review and decide on the way forward,” Gawanas said.

She further noted that there are many policies in the country, but the lack of coordination of the various policy units makes it difficult for them to interlink.

“Once we can achieve coordination half of the challenges can be resolved, just by proper coordination. We looked at what is existing (in terms of policies) so that we can build on and strengthen it,” Gawanas added.

Furthermore, she explained that poverty and hunger are interlinked and cannot be successfully addressed without fighting greed and corruption.

“When people are hungry it’s not always just the lack of food. It is the redistribution of resources and wealth within a country and it is my contention that if you fight hunger and poverty you have to fight corruption and greed.

“It is greed and corruption that undermines the fight against poverty,” Gawanas concluded.