Namibia: UN Calls for Transformation in Food Production

THE United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has advised the world to transform agrifood systems and make them more resilient to the effects of climate change.

This was the message delivered in Namibia FAO representative Farayi Zimudzi, at World Food Day celebrations on Saturday at the Utuseb settlement outside Walvis Bay.

This year World Food Day was celebrated under the theme 'Our Actions are Our Future. Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life'.

Zimudzi said food production is one of the major causes of degradation, and is putting pressure on natural resources, the environment, and climate.

"Climate change is causing low crop yields and decreased livestock productivity, the decline in fisheries, aquaculture and agroforestry production, and changes in the nutrient composition of major staples, with the reduction in proteins, minerals and vitamins," she said.

As an arid country, Namibia is exposed to various shocks and threats, such as climate risks and commodity price fluctuations.

This poses a threat to food security, placing the lives and livelihoods of many in jeopardy, Zimudzi said.

"This predicament draws attention towards the need to transform Namibia's agrifood systems and make it more resilient to the effects of climate change and other shocks. Additionally, there is also an increasing need to diversify our agricultural systems to enable them to adapt to climate change and disasters," she said.

Deputy minister of agriculture, water and land reform Anna Shiweda said Namibia has resolved to use the recommendations that emerged from the United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit, convened by secretary general António Guterres last month.

The summit sought to set the stage for the transformation of global food systems, and to accelerate the progress towards the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

"The government will therefore use the recommendations that emerged from the dialogues and the summit to transform our food systems to deliver sufficient, nutritious and affordable food sustainably for all our citizens," Shiweda said.

World Food Day is commemorated annually on 16 October as a reminder that millions of people globally go hungry.

The UN estimates that more than 800 million people worldwide are acutely threatened by hunger.

It was commemorated under difficult conditions this year, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shiweda said rescue and mitigation intervention measures were implemented to ensure food security during this difficult period.

"Given this situation, we need to put our hands together to ensure the production of quality and nutritious food in the country. I would therefore like to encourage households to have backyard gardens consisting of nutritious crops, as this would result in changes in our food and diet patterns," she said.

To improve nutrition at household level, Shiweda urged farmers to become more involved in urban agriculture, as well as climate-smart agriculture to ensure increased productivity.

GIZ donated 80 fruit trees and 100 seedlings of sweet potatoes towards setting up five community gardens at Utuseb.

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