Oshakati – DTA president McHenry Venaani has predicted that the current pace of implementation, and what he says are unsustainably high costs, could result in the downfall of the food bank.
The food bank was initiated under the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) to help Namibian breadwinners earning less than N$400 per month to receive food bank handouts from government to augment their starvation wages.
Venaani says the ideology of the food bank could be short-lived if Namibia does not use methodologies to sustain the food being distributed to the listed beneficiaries.
“The recent budget cuts provide sufficient evidence that the government is already financially handicapped,” he said.
The DTA president said Namibia needs to adopt a system of feeding its beneficiaries with home-grown produce.
In countries where success of food banks is recorded, the DTA president said such governments excessively use local farmers and producers to provide the food.
In so doing, government will not only feed the poor but it will also create jobs and agricultural markets for farmers to sell their produce.
“But in Namibia (President Hage Geingob) wants to have a food bank, but he wants to import all the food. How can you have sustainability if you are importing all the food?” he queried.
He made the remarks at the DTA elective central committee meeting last Saturday.
Venaani reckons there is also a need to transform and modernize agriculture in the fight to reduce poverty in the country and create food security.
“Our people cannot continue farming using the same old methods that they were using when we were growing up. It is time the Namibian agricultural industry is transformed from ‘subsistence agriculture’ and modernized into agriculture as a business,” said Venaani.
He said government has for too long failed farmers to modernize and it failed to capitalize on Namibia’s agricultural potential, boost job creation and provide food security.
He stated it is also vital to invest in the distribution of drought-resistant seeds instead of the current heavy-rain reliant crops.
This, the DTA president said, will be able to boost agricultural production.