Namibia is an upper middle-income country with a population of 2.3 million. An estimated 42.3 percent of the population is undernourished due mainly to high rates of poverty (26.9 percent), unemployment (28 percent), HIV and AIDS (16 percent) and household income disparities. Seventy percent of the population depends on agriculture for all or part of their livelihoods, while 40 percent are smallholder farmers growing grain crops mainly for their own consumption.
Cropping conditions are generally poor and characterized by erratic rainfall and frequent floods and drought. Namibia imports an average of 60 percent of its food requirements and is thus vulnerable to external price increases. The poor are often unable to meet their own food requirements and the Namibian Government, on average, provides food assistance to 300,000 people annually and nearly double or more in times of severe drought, as in 2013 and 2015.
WFP has been present in Namibia since 1990.
WFP’s focus in Namibia has shifted from food assistance to providing technical assistance to the Government. The aim is to strengthen national capacities to end hunger by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of food safety net programs, such as school meals and relief operations, and to enhance the Government’s capacity to assess, plan and respond to food security needs.
School meals – School meals in Namibia are an important part of the country’s food safety nets, providing 330,000 children in schools with a daily nutritious mid-morning meal. WFP supports the Namibian School Feeding Programme by providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in areas of policy and strategic guidance; knowledge generation and management; systems development and strengthening; and capacity building. WFP and the ministry are also jointly exploring the possibility of integrating smallholder farmers into the school meals supply chain to promote economic development in the region and support the diversification of school meals.
Strengthening food and nutrition security monitoring – WFP provides technical assistance through food security monitoring and assessment and analysis, logistics, systems development and implementation, as well as capacity strengthening and program support to enhance government capacity to assess, plan and respond to emergency food needs. Recent achievements include the launching by the Office of the Prime Minister of the Namibia Food and Nutrition Security Monitoring Plan. WFP has also supported the planned expansion of government-led vulnerability assessments into urban areas by developing data collection and analysis tools at the Government’s request. Preparations by the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare are also underway for the launch of Namibia’s food bank system in June 2016. The initiative will address hunger in urban areas.