Seed Handout Pleases Red Cross

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The Secretary General of the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) Razia-Essack Kauaria has expressed satisfaction with last week’s distribution of crop seeds to vulnerable communities in some parts of the country. Since last week, the Namibia Red Cross Society has been distributing maize, pumpkin, and other vegetable seeds to families that have been identified as vulnerable and in need. Despite Namibia having a high per capita income, extreme poverty and food insecurity are prevalent in the country, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported last month. In response to this and following the heavy rains that the country has received so far, the Red Cross as part of the humanitarian agency’s quest to fight hunger has appealed for funds from international donors since last year. With the help received, the organisation has distributed tonnes of hybrid maize, pumpkin, tomato and cabbage seeds to 136 families in the Tsumkwe area as well as ammonium nitrate and compound D fertilizer. According to the NRCS Secretary General, the distribution is progressing well, though in Caprivi the rate at which the distribution is taking place has slightly been slowed down by the heavy rains. Otherwise, the Red Cross is satisfied with the work done so far, she told New Era. “The distribution in all the targeted areas in the country ended last Friday and we are happy with the report,” she stressed. NRCS would equally take seed for distribution to Impalila Island and Schukmansberg this week. Today, the organisation would get permits from the Governor’s office in Caprivi. Distribution officers will need to go through Zambia and Botswana to get to the two areas and thus the need for the permits. Communities that were targeted for this assistance that is worth thousands of tons of seeds are those in the north-eastern parts of the country. The organisation through its regional offices mobilised 200 volunteers to assist with the distribution of these seeds. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies last year made an appeal to donor organisations worldwide and received more than N$180 million. According to Kauaria, NRCS would have liked to distribute food as well to these communities especially HIV/AIDS affected households. However, the organisation from its appeal only received 20 per cent of the funds it asked for. Assistance in this regard was given to countries hard hit by hunger, countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.