In recent times, Togo's development has been hampered by simultaneous problems. A 15 year crisis had an important impact on Togo's social indicators, a number of which lag behind those of neighbouring countries.
With a declining Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) over the last decade, Togo's Human Development Index failed to improve in recent years and even dropped from 152nd to 159th place between 2007 and 2009. Lack of investments and foreign aid exacerbated by exogenous shocks (floods, high food prices crisis, financial crises) called for an emergency assistance in the country.
Togo's economy traditionally relies on the primary sector. In addition to major structural difficulties constraining the Togolese agriculture, the country is also prone to severe and rapid food insecurity caused by natural disasters (major floods) in both southern and northern regions.
Most families in the semi-arid lands in the north depend on local food harvests and cotton culture and are subsequently extremely vulnerable and chronically food-insecure. Moreover, recent Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) data indicate an increase in acute malnutrition rates all over the country between 2008 and 2009, with 7.4 percent acute malnutrition nationwide and 12.5 for the Savanes region in the north. In the same region, 65,000 people have been assessed as living in severe food insecurity according to WFP Emergency Food Security Assessment (2008).
WFP food in Togo is provided to assist the population highly affected by the agriculture recession after over 10 years of suspension of international assistance, whose vulnerability has been exacerbated by severe floods in 2007 and 2008, as well as the global food crisis.
The operation targets beneficiaries in three regions: Maritime, Plateaux and Savanes.
A total of 115 therapeutic feeding centres are supported by WFP to tackle moderate malnutrition. WFP assistance benefits children under five years of age as well as pregnant and nursing women, with an objective to reduce malnutrition and prevent nutritional deficits in infants. In addition, mothers of severely malnourished children receive a food ration while their child is under treatment at a therapeutic feeding centre. In addition, WFP provides an individual monthly ration to returnees who are attending training sessions or carrying out income-generating activities.
By responding to natural disasters, WFP also provides direct assistance to the flood-affected population (70,000 victims in 2007, 20,000 in 2008). The combination of floods, structural difficulties, and high food prices has led to severe food insecurity. WFP is responding to this crisis by providing programmes such as food-for-work and support to rural schools, as well as general food distributions to 65,000 vulnerable people affected by floods and high food prices in the most food-insecure areas in northern Togo. In addition, WFP donated 10 mt of commodities to the government as a response to floods in July 2009, in order to supply a month's ration of food for over 500 flood-affected people.
WFP is currently working on its mid-term strategy for the country with a view towards scaling up activities in the areas of safety nets and disaster risk reduction.