Togo is a low-income and a least developed food deficit country in West Africa and is ranked 139th out of 169 on the 2010 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI). Over the past 15 years, Togo has experienced several periods of socio-political and economic turmoil. Development aid sanctions placed on Togo in 1993 discouraged traditional aid donors and led to economic devastation.
This has had a calamitous impact on poverty levels over the last decade. Due to widespread precarious living conditions including food insecurity and little access to social services, 61.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line (Strategic Document for Poverty Reduction, 2009-2011). The GDP per capita is US$847 (World Economic Outlook, IMF, 2010).
The country’s economy relies on subsistence agriculture. In addition to major structural difficulties constraining Togolese agriculture, the country is also prone to severe and rapid food insecurity caused by natural disasters (major floods), in both the southern and northern regions, as well as to international crises such as high food prices. Last year’s floods significantly affected the population, displacing people, damaging infrastructure, and negatively affecting livelihoods.
Moreover, recent nutrition data from a SMART survey conducted in December 2010 confirms high rates of severe food insecurity, particularly in the north of the country, with 4.8 percent acute malnutrition nationwide and 8.4 percent for the Savanes region in the north. The January 2010 WFP rapid assessment in Savanes and Kara regions revealed that 11.4 percent and 10.5 percent of the population respectively, that is to say 76,000 and 77,000 people, are severely food insecure.