WINDHOEK, 12 APR – Government says the Food Bank operations continue to yield positive impacts on the livelihoods of vulnerable beneficiaries.
Presenting his fourth State of the Nation Address in the capital on Wednesday, President Hage Geingob said the 2015/16 National Income and Expenditure Survey revealed that overall poverty declined to 18 per cent from 37,7 per cent in 2003/04.
“We continue to advance on social progression and are winning the war against poverty. According to the 2015/16 National Income and Expenditure Survey, food poverty declined to 5,8 per cent from 9,0 per cent during the same period,” he said.
He added that the responsibility of the Food Bank is to benefit food insecure households in urban and peri-urban centres.
“We are aware that the Food Bank operation is not a panacea to poverty eradication. The testimonies of Food Bank beneficiaries confirm that the programme provides much-needed aid where it matters most,” he said.
Geingob said after securing income generating activities, beneficiaries will be graduated from the programme.
He added that poverty is a complex issue that warrants a multi-faceted approach, including the administration of social safety nets, provision of top quality education and health services, provision of affordable housing and creation of decent employment.
Government will also continue to roll out this programme to other peri-urban regional centres, albeit in a different format to reduce transactional cost, Geingob added.
The Food Bank, from the start, received criticism from various members of the public, with some saying it encourages laziness amongst beneficiaries.
However, Geingob said during the independence celebrations last month that “Namibians are already lazy”.
The Food Bank operation, which comprises of warehouses packed with food, is run by unemployed youth who are organised into street committees to identify beneficiaries and hand out food parcels.
Geingob launched the first Namibian Food Bank as a pilot project in the Khomas Region on 30 June 2016 and by March last year, more than 90 000 individuals from 22 000 households had benefited from the Food Bank in Windhoek.
Preliminary work for a Food Bank in Keetmanshoop, //Kharas Region, started early this year with the registration of beneficiaries after the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Zephania Kameeta launched the programme there.
Food distribution is expected to start in June or July this year.