Windhoek/ Hamburg, October 15, 2013 – “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” is the theme of this year’s World Food Day on October 16. Meanwhile, the food and water crisis in Namibia, caused by what could be the most severe drought in decades, is threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Over 100,000 children under the age of five are estimated to be at risk of acute malnutrition and half of Namibia’s population is facing food insecurity. With the prospects of failing crops, diminishing cattle stocks, more boreholes drying up and an increased dependence on food imports, the outlook is worrying.
While the Namibian government is doing its best to respond to the immediate food needs through the distribution of food aid and additional drilling for water, long-term solutions are needed to secure the population’s food security in the future.
To this end, policy-makers from Namibia have been working with the World Future Council on implementing long term solutions to food security. As a first step, the international foundation based in Hamburg, Germany took a delegation from Windhoek to the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte to study the latter’s exemplary food security programme. Belo Horizonte is famous for successfully eliminating hunger and malnutrition whilst at the same time boosting the local economy and the livelihoods of small holder family farmers in the surrounding area. Belo Horizonte’s food security programme received the World Future Council’s Future Policy Award in 2009. The programme was lauded as “the world’s most comprehensive policy that tackles hunger immediately and secures a healthy food supply for the future.”
While visiting Belo Horizonte in August 2013, Deputy Mayor of Windhoek Muesee Kazapua commented: “Though the level of government closest to the people, local authorities in Namibia have not been actively involved in food security programmes. The current looming drought, however, is affecting not only rural communities, as it is largely perceived, but equally those living in urban Namibia. Chronic malnutrition affects almost 30% of children below the age of five. This is unacceptable. By sharing best practices with our counterparts in Belo Horizonte, Mayor Agnes Kafula and I intend to solve this problem fundamentally by promoting urban food security projects and turn Windhoek into a role model for other African cities to learn from.”
The study tour to Brazil was organised and funded by the World Future Council, in close collaboration with the city of Belo Horizonte. The tour included visits to local food markets, subsidised restaurants, community gardens, school kitchens and food banks. Delegates from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Bangangté (Cameroon) and Kitwe (Zambia) also participated.
World Future Council
Policy Officer Food Security
Phone: +49 40 30 70 914-12
Fax: +49 40 30 70 914-14