Some 122 000 agricultural households experienced food shortages when the 2013/14 Census of Agriculture for the communal sector was conducted.
According to the report, which was released last week, the regions of Kavango East (92 percent), Kavango West (89.2 percent) and Kunene (85.4 percent) were found to be more vulnerable to food shortages than other regions. //Karas is the least vulnerable region (20.6 percent), with Khomas the second least vulnerable at 30.1 percent.
The report also shows that the agricultural households, mostly from Omusati and Ohangwena, which reported food shortages during the months of the census, were also those which were worried about not having enough food during the last three months of the year.
The report points out that 35 002 households in the Omusati region were worried about not having enough food at the end of the census, while 28 36 households from Ohangwena expressed the same fear. According to the findings of the report, only 52.3 percent of children in the communal areas take three meals per day on average, compared to 15.2 percent adults.
In the Omaheke Region, some 92 percent of children are recorded to have on average taken three meals per day, followed by Erongo with 87.3 percent. The //Karas Region recorded the least percentage (27.1) of children who took three meals a day on average.
The report also shows that 52 413 households countrywide experienced food shortages last January, while 23 387 households reported the same situation in January 2013. The results reveal that, generally, more households experienced significant food shortages in January every year than subsequent months of the year.
The first and most important reason for food shortages identified by households was loss of crops and/or insufficient production. The second most important reason was given as a lack of jobs, followed by lack of adequate labour. The report also shows that 11 417 households cited lack of adequate capital as a reason for food shortages.
Results from the census show that 268 208 household members obtain assistance through the government’s food relief programme, followed by 107 567 persons who used their savings to buy food. A further 48 128 people alleviated food shortages through social grants. Only 495 households used sale of land as main immediate response to alleviate food shortages.