9 January 2013

Namibia: Govt to Establish a Food Bank

THE Namibian government is to establish a food bank to cater to the basic needs of impoverished Namibians who have been collecting expired food items from dumpsites.

Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku recently motivated Cabinet to approve an amount of N$160 000 as start-up capital for the establishment of the food bank.

The main purpose of the food bank, according to Hausiku, is to alleviate hunger and provide for the basic needs of vulnerable people in Namibia by soliciting, collecting and packaging food, clothes, educational materials and other basic necessities for vulnerable people.

"The food bank will source local funding to improve sustainability of the various poverty alleviation and food support initiatives of local charities and the expansion of services to more vulnerable people by leveraging support from the Namibian private and public sector," he said.

Hausiku last year said the food bank, which will operate from the Disaster Risk Management warehouse in Windhoek's Prosperita, will be implemented at other towns as well.

Food consigned for dumping will now be brought to the food banks where they will be distributed properly to the needy.

Hausiku and a technical committee last year studied the reasons why people turn to dumpsites and compiled a report on the situation in Windhoek.

"A presentation on the creation of food banks for the people was done and that might be a solution to many of the problems. This is also the most important recommendation that was made in the final report," Hausiku told The Namibian last year.

"The idea is to get a central place where all the food could be dumped. Then these people don't have to visit the dumpsite. It is important that good practices should be put in place at all the towns."

He also said the food banks will be managed by Government in cooperation with non-governmental organisations.

Furthermore, the office of the Prime Minister is in consultation with tertiary institutions in the country to agree on the funding of an in-depth research on a long term framework, for job creation, poverty reduction, secure food security and provide practical training.

Meanwhile, government continues training some of the dumpsite people and enlisting some in State programmes.

According to Hausiku, the money to be spent on the dumpsite people will be within the budgetary framework.

During the investigation it was found that the majority of the people have no or little education and that poverty drives them to the dumpsites. Some of them are living at the dumpsites and have erected shacks there.

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