Over the past 20 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, and poverty levels have subsequently risen over the last two decades.
Agriculture is the centerpiece of the Togo’s economy, but major structural difficulties, including low technical expertise and inadequate farming equipment and technologies, have limited agricultural production. Natural disasters have increased the country’s risk of severe food insecurity. In recent years, flash flooding has become more prevalent due to climate change; Northern Togo faced the worst floods in 10 years in 2007 and 2008, and the South (maritime region) was seriously hit in 2010.
Household food insecurity and undernutrition remain pressing concerns across the country, particularly in the northern regions. Nutrition data from a Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions survey conducted in 2012 confirms high rates of acute malnutrition, particularly in the north. The prevalence of acute malnutrition in the Savannah Region was recorded at 7.6 percent, compared to 4.9 percent nationwide. Chronic malnutrition, recorded at 36 percent in the region, is similarly well above national levels (28 percent).
Togo is a least-developed, food-deficit country— ranked 159 out of 186 in the 2012 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI)—with a population of about 5.8 million, according to the 2010 census.