FAO urges Namibia to assess food security

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Windhoek

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has urged government to conduct a situational analysis of the country’s 2.2 million inhabitants in order to determine the level of food security in the country.

Namibia is among seven African countries that have not achieved their post-2015 sustainable development goals in terms of food security, a recent FAO report stated.

According to the FAO, 42.3 percent of all Namibians are undernourished. FAO country representative in Namibia, Babagana Ahmadu, said the country needs baseline information to identify the status of food insecurity.

Ahmadu was speaking to New Era last Friday, mere minutes after three UN food agencies in Rome, including the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the UN World Food Programme, released a new report: “Achieving Zero Hunger: The Critical Role of Investments in Social Protection and Agriculture”. The report provides estimates of the investment costs required to achieve hunger eradication. It does this by focusing on a scenario in which social protection is combined with targeted investments, particularly in rural development and agriculture, to assist the poor and the hungry.

Babagana says government must lead the way in achieving these goals by identifying key contributory factors and then acting on the recommendations of all relevant role players and the private sector.

“There is currently no such reliable and credible baseline data available for Namibia. Government has committed itself to the eradication of poverty and hunger and they must stick to their guns and supply the vital information via their sectorial ministries,” he said.

Eradicating world hunger sustainably by 2030 will require an estimated additional US$267 million per year on average for investments in rural and urban areas and in social protection, to ensure poor people have access to food and can improve their livelihoods, the new UN report says.

This would average US$160 (N$2000) annually for each person living in extreme poverty over the 15-year period. The additional N$2000 per year for each person living in extreme poverty will end chronic hunger, new UN estimates show. The report notes that today, despite the progress made in recent decades, nearly 800 million people, most of them in rural areas, still do not have enough food to eat.

Eliminating chronic undernourishment by 2030 is a key element of the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 2 of the new post-2015 agenda to be adopted by the international community later this year, and is also at the heart of the Zero Hunger Challenge promoted by the UN Secretary-General.

“The message of the report is clear: if we adopt a “business as usual” approach, by 2030, we would still have more than 650 million people suffering from hunger.

This is why we are championing an approach that combines social protection with additional targeted investments in rural development, agriculture and urban areas that will chiefly benefit the poor,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

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