Namibia, Japan sign N$4.7 million food grant

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Esme Konstantinus

Windhoek-The Government of Japan early this week signed a food aid grant of N$ 4.7 million with Namibia in support of Namibia’s efforts to tackle food insecurity caused by the persistent droughts.

Namibia has been facing persistent drought for three consecutive years in a row.
Signing on behalf of Namibia, the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah explained the severe scarcity of water caused by low rainfall in recent years has negatively affected farming activities in all corners of the country, a situation that has hampered crop production and that has impacted negatively on livestock.

She added that: “ As we are still in the middle of the rainy season, and welcome good rains received in some parts of the country, it is still early to tell if we are out of the worse situation or we still in. Therefore, I am not sure yet if our harvest will improve this year.”

The drought, she noted, has robbed many of the citizens of their livelihood and sending them into abject poverty, and acknowledged that the spirit of solidarity that various friendly countries, including Japan continue to show by donating food relief aid is a blessing to those in dire need.

Nandi-Ndaitwah commended the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for its support to the University of Namibia’s (Unam) Ogongo Campus and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry that are jointly implementing a research project under the Framework of Science and Technology Cooperation Programme.

The project aims to develop a “flood and drought-adaptive cropping system” which strives to produce flood and drought resistant crops in Namibia.

The Ambassador of Japan to Namibia, Hideyuki Sakamoto noted that in line with Namibian Government’s policy and efforts, Japan is increasing the focus of its to support to the agricultural sector, which is one of the priority areas under the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).

He added his office is currently implementing a technical cooperation project in the North which aims to improve livelihood of small-scale farmers through diversification of agricultural and farm products, provision of skill training, facilitating farmers’ access to markets.

Seven Japan overseas cooperation volunteers have been deployed in the sector since 2008 and are working closely with the Namibian people on the ground, he explained.
Sakamoto further informed the Deputy Prime Minister that a scientific research project which aims to introduce a new method of mixed cropping of the drought resilient mahangu and the flood resilient rice has, recently been successfully completed.

“I believe that Japan’s supports help improve the food security in Namibia and contribute towards eliminating hunger and poverty,” he said.

Meanwhile, the donation will come in the form of wheat and rice and will be distributed to the needy Namibians, as per the assessment made by the Directorate of Disaster Risk Management (DDRM) in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

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