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Reduce food print to sustain the planet

Mon, 13 May 2013 02:00
by Business Writer

Climate change is greatly felt in the agricultural sector and has become a threat to food security in the country.
Research done by Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) have showed that agriculture is extremely sensitive to climatic conditions. Hence, with persistent drought and unpredictable and variable rainfall and temperature being a norm, reduction in agricultural productivity will have implication on food security, poverty and wealth creation.
Therefore, the University of Namibia Environmental Society (UNES) has joined the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) campaign to encourage people to reduce their food print, which is one of the key to move towards sustainability.
This campaign themed ‘Think.Eat.Save’ is an anti food waste and food loss campaign which can be viewed as one of the keys to move towards food sustainability.
This theme was chosen after realising that at least 1/3 of the food produced is wasted in the supply chain process.
In that regards, ‘National Environment Awareness’ activities have been prepared throughout various regions from 10 May to 17 June.
As part of the awareness activities, UNES has based its activity on food sustainability.
UNES Chairperson Tobias Endjambi pointed out that their choice was motivated by the current threat to food, especially this year due to shortage of rainfall.“It’s simple, the problem of food waste goes beyond how much spoiled un-cooked food we throw into the bin and how much we leave on the plate after a meal. If we can take measures and reduce this food loss then we will spend less on food production and just have enough on the table at a lower effort and cost,” he says.
Endjambi notes that climate change has become a reality in the country, especially in the agricultural sector. Thus, a little yield in crop and livestock production is expected this year.
“Last year 2012, UNAM Environment Society conducted a survey on the impact of climate change on the agricultural production in Hardap and Karas regions. The results show that the increase in temperature has both negative and positive impacts on food production in those regions,” he says.
The result states that an increase in temperature lowers the growth rate of fish whilst such an increase in temperature upsurges the grape yields in those regions.
Consequently studies need to be done at local level to assess such impacts in order to comprehend the impact of climate change first, and then come up with suitable adaptation methods.
He further argues that suitable adaptation methods can only be chosen when studies are conducted locally and nationally. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture and UNAM department of crop science should come together to invest into crops that can grow in semi-arid and arid conditions to be adopted by farmers.
“Let us note that 40% of all Namibia’s export is based on agricultural products and about 70% of the population’s livelihood depends directly on subsistence agriculture while the agriculture sector employs 27% of the country’s active workforce,” he adds.