WINDHOEK - The national food reserves are currently depleted due to the recurrent and severe drought that Namibia is confronted with.
Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister Alpheus !Naruseb confirmed the depletion of the national food reserves, adding it goes without saying that the supplies in terms of food security in the silos is not what “we would have wanted”.
“There is need to supply in our quest to make Namibians food secure, the content of the silos have been depleted,” !Naruseb said upon New Era enquiry on the current level stocks of national silos in terms of food security.
National Strategic Food Reserves Senior Manager Wilhelmina Handunge confirmed to New Era that currently, the grain reserves stand at 14 percent, of which 64 percent is mahangu and 36 percent is white maize grain.
She said Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (Amta) is busy with white maize grain intake from some green scheme projects and at the same time releasing grain for food relief distribution programme through the Office of the Prime Minister, Disaster Risk Management.
“Should the available stock not be sufficient to meet the national demand, Amta is ready to import grain anytime,” Handunge noted.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Percy Misika provided the latest national food reserve stock levels in the country as recorded until September 2019.
The records show that for a total number of five national food reserves in Namibia with collective storage capacity of 22 900 metric tonnes of grain (maize and pearl millet combined), their current stock levels are only 2 903.77 metric tonnes, which can be translated to 12.68 percent.
He confirmed that for Katima Mulilo, the national silos can accommodate 7 400 metric tonnes of grains in capacity, but currently only have 547.2 metric tonnes with maize in stock level, which translate into 7.39 percent.
For Rundu, the national silos can accommodate 4 000 metric tonnes in capacity, but the current stock level is as low as 1.16 metric tonnes or 0.03 percent of maize.
The national silos in Omuthiya have a capacity of 4 000 metric tonnes, the silos currently have nothing in stock to feed the nation.
Tsandi silos have a storage capacity to take 3 000 metric tonnes of grain, however, at the moment stock levels are as low as 343.57 metric tonnes (44.71 percent) of maize, while Okongo can accommodate 4 500 metric tonnes of grain, but currently have 2 011.84 metric tonnes (12.68 percent) of pearl millet in stock.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said government have agreed to revive some programmes to boost the country’s irrigation system.
She explained the idea is to have enough stock in the national silos.
According to her, Namibia should also have enough food to export to other countries and optimise the benefits from the trade agreements it has concluded with other countries.
“So, these trade agreements do not only result in foreign products flooding into our markets, but also create an opportunity for us to increase production, create jobs and optimise income by exporting our goods to those countries. The low levels of food reserves into our silos should not cause alarm that we going to have rampant hunger across Namibia because of that situation. There are measures that we build resilience going forward so when the rains are not good, we are still able to produce food using irrigation,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila remarked.
According to her, plans of desalination plants and harvesting of flood water are also being investigated as alternatives to tackle the situation.
“I heard of people say, we always wait for emergencies to strike and then we react. We are dealing with these emergencies and we are building resilience,” she noted.
2019-10-11 07:51:47 | 6 days ago