Tujoromajo Kasuto

The World Food Programme (WFP) and Environment Investment Fund (EIF) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

This is a collaboration in the management of programmes under the Sustainable Development Goals: 2 (Zero Hunger), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnerships). EIF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Benedict Libanda, says to achieve the SDGs by 2030, it is paramount that industries, as well as individuals, harness their knowledge of materials and financial resources to ensure the safety and prosperity of people, and natural environments in the country.

For this reason, the EIF is ready to partner with entities such as WFP as a demonstration of their commitment in championing SDGs. “We need to work together to find solutions that are sustainable and durable, and that recognize our interdependence as institutions”, says Libanda.

As a group of committed partners, WFP and EIF envision to provide capacity strengthening to the government of Namibia in the journey towards zero hunger by 2030. The MOU comes as most households’ diets are associated with high levels of nutrient deficiency. This is evident in the high levels of stunting at 24% and wasting and 6% among children 0-54 months.

There is lack of diversification in terms of food production, with the local food production dominated mainly by the production of staples such as maize, millet, and sorghum and very limited of other nutrient dense crops, says the partners.

Further noting a high dependence on food imports, where the country imports 60% plus of the total needs in the country. Given that on average in Namibia, 70% plus of Namibians relies on market access for food. Similarly, climate change impacts on food production. This is very evident for Namibia where for the past 10-15 years, the country has continued to experience drought and floods, which have led to significant reduction in food production, and in turn fueling the dependence on food imports.

Limited access for small holder farmers to markets has impacted a lot on the commercialization process of small holder farmers whose produce have very limited market and are unable to compete on an equal footing with the commercial farmers. This has disincentivised farmers and in turn discouraged increased production.

Smallholder farmers are more vulnerable to climate shocks, this vulnerability resulting from 100% dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

This has been evident during time when the country has experienced drought, where the average yield per hector cultivated has significantly dropped for those in the communal agriculture sector, leading to a drop in the local food production.

To accelerate the journey towards zero hunger and the food and nutrition security agenda, WFP has identified key entry points through three key strategic pillars of i) rural transformation; (ii) sustainable food systems and; (iii) human capital development as key focus areas and support to government.

In addition to these pillars, cross-cutting areas of digital transformation, women, and youth empowerment and job creation have also been prioritized, says WFP Country Director, George Fedha.