FAO in Namibia

Japan’s contribution to enhance Namibia’s food security and nutrition with new funding

Dignitaries pictured during the launch of the two FAO and WHO projects funded by the Government of Japan. © FAO

Windhoek – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan in Namibia and the Government of Namibia, launched two critical projects valued at USD 758,916 and USD 500,000, respectively. The projects aim to address climate mitigation and resilience, food security, and nutrition related issues in partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) and the Ministry of Health and Social Service (MoHSS).

Agriculture is a vital sector in Namibia, supporting approximately 70% of Namibians who are directly or indirectly reliant on the sector, making support for agriculture, food production, and  nutrition  essential  as they address critical elements of hunger and  poverty;  and reduces  the risk of malnutrition amongst the most vulnerable.

H.E.  Hisao Nishimaki, the Ambassador of the Government of Japan to Namibia, highlighted this aspect during the launch of the two projects, stating ‘the need for support in the health and agricultural sectors is great since everybody needs health care and it is said that more than 70% of the Namibian population depends on agriculture directly or indirectly.’

H.E Nishimaki noted that the Government of Japan began funding the Trilateral Cooperation Projects in support of the Government of Namibia’s development efforts since 2013. Since then, 24 projects have been successfully funded and implemented by various UN Agencies at a total cost of over USD 17,2 million (NAD 320 million) excluding the two new projects. 

Honorable Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, the Minister of Health and Social Services, noted the challenges of malnutrition that affects many communities in the country, emphasizing why there is an urgent need to address its root causes. ‘Since it [malnutrition] has to do with lack of food, it means our point of departure is to ensure that people have access to adequate food,’ he explained. ‘This requires providing families and communities with the means, tools, inputs, and land necessary for food production. Additionally, people should be equipped with the necessary skills to enhance food production at the household level’. He further emphasized that tackling malnutrition requires a multisectoral, whole of government and all of society approach.

Both FAO and WHO are making significant contributions to national development goals as specialized agencies of the United Nations.  WHO supports MoHSS in ensuring access to quality essential health services, while FAO focuses on promoting sustainable agriculture, enhancing food security, and mitigating the impacts of climate change,’ said Dr Mary Brantuo, WHO Namibia Officer-in-Charge. She further narrated the objectives of both projects during her remarks.

Dr Brantuo highlighted that the WHO project aims to ‘increase access to quality nutrition and protection services for vulnerable populations particularly women and children and contribute to the reduction of illness, preventable deaths, and inequities in the Khomas, Omaheke and Kunene regions.’  Meanwhile, the FAO project focuses on enhancing resilience and mitigating climate-induced impacts on livelihoods, food, and nutrition security of the most vulnerable households in Kavango East, Kavango West and Ohangwena regions. The launched was witnessed by Dr. Qingyun Diao, FAO Representative in Namibia, the governors from 4 of the beneficiary regions of Khomas, Kavango East, Kavango West and Ohangwena. 

The Government of Japan, through its Japan Supplementary Budget, has consistently funded FAO activities in Namibia for three consecutive years and WHO activities for five consecutive years, contributing totals of USD 2,185,823 and USD 2,047,272.00 respectively.  This funding underscores the importance that the Government of Japan places on these two sectors, aligning with the country’s national development goals and targets.