- live below the national poverty line
- of people were unemployed in 2021
- 2.5 million
Namibia is an upper-middle-income country, with a population of 2.5 million people. Despite this classification, 18 percent of Namibians live below the national poverty line. Over a fifth of people were unemployed in 2021, mostly women and youth.
According to the 2022 Global Hunger Index, Namibia suffers from a serious level of hunger, ranking 78th out of 116 countries. The country imports up to 80 percent of its food, as not all goods can be sourced locally. Malnutrition is a growing concern, with 24 percent of children under the age of 5 stunted (reduced growth relative to age), 6 percent experiencing wasting (weighing too little for their height) and 13 percent underweight.
The impact of the current global and national food-price crisis on food security is heightened by various factors, including: low production of food and livestock in communal areas, mainly due to limited access to modern farming technologies and practices; poor soil fertility; overgrazing; prolonged dry spells; limited access to markets; and land-use practices. Approximately 54 percent of smallholder farmers are women who live in communal areas, where access to land and water is challenging.
The impact of climate change, coupled with COVID-19, has increased the scale of deprivation, food insecurity and malnutrition among vulnerable rural and urban communities.
In response, WFP continues to work with the Government, other UN agencies and partners to merge resources and expertise, and to address food and nutrition needs. At the request of the Government, WFP provides additional technical support to strengthen food systems, and seeks innovative approaches to addressing malnutrition, improving responses to shocks, and strengthening social protection.
WFP provided technical support to the Ministry of Education, Art and Culture in transitioning school feeding to a Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. This will result in increased availability of diversified food and better nutrition for schoolchildren and their families.
Namibia is susceptible to disasters affecting southern African countries, namely floods, droughts and epidemics. It is also prone to pest invasions and disease outbreaks in crops and livestock. WFP provides training to government counterparts on the use of drones and other high-tech equipment in emergency response and preparedness, drought-monitoring systems for early-action mitigation, and long-term investments to build drought-resilient communities.
WFP is supporting the Government in transitioning SCOPE (WFP's beneficiary and transfer-management platform) into a nationally owned initiative which expands Namibia’s current digital systems. This should help improve targeting and overall efficiency, while reducing costs.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Namibia
WFP is developing a National Integrated Programme for Rural Transformation. Its goals include agricultural innovation and productivity, employment creation, small and medium-enterprise development, trade facilitation, market access and value chain development, through a multisectoral and multi-stakeholder approach.
Climate resilient livelihood support
WFP provides technical support to the Government on drought-monitoring systems, early mitigation action and long-term sustainable investments for drought-resilient communities. Additionally, WFP is transitioning from cash-based transfers to government programmes that restore rural community assets such as schools, water points, roads, and health centres. At the same time, WFP is advocating for sustainable agricultural livelihoods through vouchers for work, quality seeds and agricultural inputs.
WFP’s technology expertise allows stronger coordination with partners and the use of digital platforms to manage targeting, beneficiary data, reporting and information sharing. This in turn enables the delivery of national social protection and safety net programmes, and school feeding programmes.
Home-Grown School Feeding
WFP provides technical support to the Government in the design and implementation of culturally appropriate school menus, through the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. Evidence from the pilot shows increased availability of diversified food, dietary and micronutrients intake for schoolchildren and their families. This increases children’s attendance and their ability to learn. For smallholder farmers and traders, the programme creates a predictable income, and boosts local agricultural production and economy.
Addressing malnutrition and stunting
WFP works with the Government to address stunting and malnutrition through community sensitization on diet diversification and consumption of indigenous healthy food. At the national level, WFP conducted comprehensive baseline studies to update outdated data on national statistics and recommend applicable solutions through government programmes and policy dialogues.
Food Systems via Supply Chain and Markets’ strengthening
Working in partnership with regional governments and selected communities, WFP has established over 30 Integrated food systems projects countrywide aimed to demonstrate the use of appropriate and climate-smart technology to produce nutritious and high-value crops. One of WFP’s flagship projects: Stampriet School Integrated Food Systems Project is aimed to improve the availability and accessibility of healthy and nutritious diets for school children. The community-based projects are intended to be a one-stop shop for knowledge sharing, skills transfer and development, promotion of technology, promote nutrition education and link farmers to markets with the goal to improve food and nutrition security. WFP’s Food System approach strengthens institutional collaboration across the entire food systems value chain: production, harvesting, storage, processing, aggregation, distribution, marketing, and consumption, for both crop and livestock products.
Partners and donors
Find out more about the state of food security in NamibiaVisit the food security analysis page
Operations in Namibia
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