The agricultural sector comprising the Meat Board of Namibia, Agronomic Board, the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU) and Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU visited State House to discuss the planned food bank just before the President Hage Geingob launched the much-welcomed initiative last Thursday in Katutura.
The food bank is an initiative of the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare to help needy persons and communities “not to sleep hungry”.
President Geingob again emphasised that he dreams of a Namibian house in which all citizens are accommodated and no one feels left out. Unfortunately, the reality is that in spite of peace and stability, there are still many people who go to bed hungry and this could threaten the political peace and stability. An overview was given of what the planned food bank should entail. It will be more than a building in which food is stored and processed and would entail street committees to determine really needy people. The cut-off point for people to qualify is N$400 per household and it is specifically these people who have to be assisted. The ministry has already formed 17 and 21 street committees in two communities in Windhoek. This serves as a pilot project for expansion to other areas and regions.
Patricia Gurubes of the Meat Board pointed out that the Meat Board has decided to contribute N$50 000 to this initiative. She however also made use of this opportunity to bring to the attention of the President the negative effect which the closure of the border for the export of livestock to South Africa will have on agriculture. She thus requested the President to intervene in the matter on a political level. Her sentiments were echoed by the President of the NAU, Ryno van der Merwe.
Van der Merwe informed Geingob that even though NAU supports this initiative, they are concerned about the logistics, especially in case of farmers contributing fresh mear to the foodbank. President Geingob emphasised that the meeting was not meant to put anybody under pressure but to sensitise the agricultural sector pointing out that participation in the food bank will be completely voluntary.
In the afternoon the President held a similar meeting with the retail sector.