Swaziland is a landlocked nation almost entirely contained within the northeast corner of South Africa. The country faces numerous challenges including poverty, chronic food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and a climate that is often unpredictable.
More than 30 percent of Swaziland’s children suffer from stunted growth as a result of malnutrition. Research has shown that this has an adverse effect on the child’s educational development, ultimately affecting the country’s economic growth.
At the World Food Programme, we have several projects underway in Swaziland to help vulnerable people and those most at risk of food insecurity. Keep reading to find out more about what the issues are and how we’re helping.
What are the Current Issues in Swaziland?
Swaziland’s population is subject to the combined effects of a number of problems. At present, these are:
Swaziland is prone to drought, yet nearly 70 percent of its people depend on being able to grow enough to feed their families. Crops fail when there is poor or irregular rainfall, as has been the case during recent rainy seasons. This has left the country unable to produce enough food to support its population. Some parts of the country are also vulnerable to flooding.
Low use of agricultural technology
Few Swazi farmers own agricultural machinery such as tractors or ploughs. This means that they must rely on manual labour, using traditional farming methods that require them to spend long hours in the fields. Often, they do not have enough food to show for all of their hard work.
With 63 percent of Swazis living below the poverty line, much of Swaziland’s population is at risk of food insecurity and there are high rates of unemployment. Income inequality is also high.
Fluctuating food prices
Because Swaziland is unable to produce enough food to support its population, it is particularly vulnerable to the fluctuating prices of the food it must import to make up the deficit.
Many Swazi households are coping with the impact of HIV which affects 26 percent of those aged 15-49 and 42 percent of pregnant women. The high prevalence of the disease amongst this age group means that it is typically breadwinners and caregivers who are affected, thus compromising food security.
Visit the WFP Swaziland newsroom for the latest news releases, stories, photos and publications from Swaziland.
What the World Food Programme is Doing to Help in Swaziland
We are supporting the Government of Swaziland in implementing three main projects. These complementary activities focus on nutrition, food security, social protection and access to education. While directly assisting the most vulnerable people, these three projects are designed to improve the Government of Swaziland’s ability to provide food and nutrition assistance to its own people.
Helping vulnerable children
WFP is providing healthy food to 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children in 2015, ensuring that they get the right food at the right time so that they can reach their full potential and lead happy, productive lives. As well as nutritious meals, these children have access to education, healthcare and emotional support. We are doing this via community-run child care centres called neighbourhood care points.
The people taking care of these orphaned and vulnerable children are volunteers, and are mostly vulnerable rural women who have little access to opportunities for creating a livelihood for themselves. We are supporting 23,475 of these volunteers with take-home rations in return for their services.
Helping HIV/AIDS and TB sufferers
We are assisting malnourished people getting treatment for HIV/AIDS and TB through a programme called Food by Prescription. We support those affected by offering nutrition assessment and counselling, as well as ensuring that people receive nutritious meals that increase the chances of medical treatment being effective. We are supporting 23,500 clients and their family members.
Food Security Analysis
July 2014: A very significant increase in crop production of almost 30 percent was reported. Furthermore, severe issues with post harvest storage both at national and at farmer’s level were reported. These will have an impact on food availability. Source: Regional FSNWG Update.
Want to know more about the status of Food Security Analysis in Swaziland? Visit the Swaziland Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) page.