Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
What are the current issues in Kyrgyzstan
Food insecurity in the Kyrgyz Republic is seasonal and correlated with chronic and increasing poverty. A third of the population of 5.8 million live in poverty with about 2 percent estimated to be extremely poor and about 12 percent are food-insecure. Though gross domestic product has increased over the past decade, the impact of growth has not reached the poorest populations.
A key challenge to the country’s food security is the low levels of productivity, aggregation, processing and marketing in agriculture, which employs 30 percent of the workforce. It results in a constant flow of outmigration, leaving rural households without key wage earners and dependent on uncertain remittances for livelihoods.
Another challenge is the insufficient social safety nets that leave the poorest families with few options for developing their skills and opportunities, or meeting the immediate needs of their families. Frequent natural disasters, such as landslides and earthquakes, dependence on food imports and a complex ethnic and political environment further exhaust household resources already under stress.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Kyrgyzstan
Since launching its operations in the Kyrgyz Republic in late 2008, WFP’s overarching objective has been to strengthen the Government’s capacity to reduce food insecurity and undernutrition and to support long-term resilience of communities.
Initially operating in an emergency capacity, WFP reached nearly a million most vulnerable people with food assistance following the global food crisis and the harsh winter and failed harvests of 2008 and the inter-ethnic violence in Osh and Jalal-Abad in 2010.
As its interventions have shifted emphasizing development and recovery, WFP implemented a Protracted and Relief Operation (PRRO) targeting more than half a million people with support to build a more food-secure future through asset creation and income generation activities. WFP’s current activities focus on school meals optimization, rural development, social protection, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.
School Meals Optimisation
WFP supports the Kyrgyz Government to boost its national school feeding through School Meals Optimisation project aimed at policy support and design of sustainable and cost-effective models of school meals. WFP also implements pilots to introduce nutritious meals in over 260 pilot school across the country, renovate school canteens and improve sanitation facilities. As a result, over 62 000 are receiving nutritious meals of soups or milk-based porridges, fresh pastry and vitamin-rich drinks during their school day. Given the success of the programme, the government will support the replication of the WFP models in all schools across the country.
Support for National Productive Safety Nets and Longer-term Community Resilience
WFP supports the Government to strengthen its capacity to reduce food insecurity and undernutrition and to support long-term resilience of communities, focusing on rural development, social protection, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. In doing so, WFP supports the development of national policies and strategies on food security and nutrition, and social protection while enhancing the national capacity to manage and improve social and productive safety nets.
In addition, WFP pilots productive safety nets including the creation or restoration of community-prioritised assets, such as irrigation infrastructure and riverbank reinforcement, income-generating activities reaching over 290,000 vulnerable smallholder farmers.
Featured Kyrgyzstan publications
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