Nam launches food security programme

By Jeremiah Ndjoze

THE recent launch of the Build Back Better (BBB) programme by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform is a sign that government is fast adopting a positive stance on food security and poverty alleviation.
The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Namibia, officially launched BBB programme in Windhoek, last Thursday.
The programme, which is meant to adopt a leave no-one-behind approach is billed to redress the negative socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the masses – especially in terms of food security – as Namibia recovers from the pandemic related shocks and emergencies.
Furthermore, the ‘TripleB’ project, so dubbed by deputy minister of agriculture Anna Shiweda, aims to support efforts towards strengthening the Namibian food systems.
Speaking at the launch, Alka Bhatia, UNDP Resident Representative in Namibia stated that the pandemic has taught Namibia and the world some valuable lessons and exposed the vulnerability of not only the global health system but also of the food systems.
“We saw how all those along the food supply chain, from farmers to processors and households were impacted. Food and nutritional security were under threat. It is therefore time to work towards ensuring a more resilient agriculture and food system; one that promotes self-reliance and self-sufficiency,” Bhatia said.
“The shift towards urban agriculture therefore becomes important. Cities are home to increasing numbers of people and thus hold the key to unlocking the potential to not only satisfy increased demand for food but also improve livelihoods, citizens’ health, and the natural environment,” Bhatia added.
She emphasised the collaborative role that all stakeholders will play in facilitating a transformational multi-disciplinary approach to addressing the risk of emerging food insecurity.
She further highlighted the project focus to include (i) the prevention of further spread of Covid-19 through the provision of hand washing facilities for informal food markets (ii) urban food production to mitigate humanitarian needs of food security and nutrition, (iii) addressing socio economic impacts of Covid-19 by supporting the livelihoods of the vulnerable through income generating activities.
Shiweda declared the BBB programme officially launched with a vote of thanks to the government of Japan for availing funds to Namibia for the project, through UNDP. Shiweda also showed appreciation to UNDP Namibia for their responsiveness in ensuring a swift execution of the project.
The implementation of the BBB programme, Shiweda stressed, will pursue a human security approach that will promote multi stakeholder partnerships across the public and private sector, ensuring the effectiveness of delivering as one.
“This integrated, leave-no-one-behind approach will commence with interventions in four regions in Namibia; Erongo, Kavango, Khomas and Hardap. Beneficiaries will include the youth, women and vulnerable people,” the deputy minister said.
Also present at the event was Ambassador Hideaki Harada who represented the government of Japan.