Armenia is an upper-middle-income, landlocked, net food-importing country, which has gone through a profound transformation since its independence in 1991. Over the past two years, the country has faced twin crises – the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic implications, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has displaced thousands of people. Data from December 2021 showed that nearly 27,000 displaced people were in need of humanitarian assistance.
Up to 35 percent of people are food insecure in rural, northern regions. Higher food insecurity is also being seen in the southern regions.
WFP carries out food security and vulnerability assessments at a national and regional level, to better understand people’s needs. WFP provides analysis to partners and to the Government of Armenia, to support programme design, legislation and funding. A Food Security Assessment in 2022 identified lack of access to nutritious food as the main cause of poor nutrition. Women-led households remain particularly food insecure. Rising food prices are also an important factor.
WFP helps increase access to, and availability of, nutritious food. This is done through community training in agribusiness, along with investment in green energy and in water-saving and waste-management technologies. WFP also provides people with high-value crops and processing units. Advice and training in healthy eating habits and cost-effective agricultural practices is also available.
WFP’s emergency response activities with the Government of Armenia include providing food and emergency cash assistance to the most vulnerable communities. These efforts are coordinated with, and monitored by, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
As Armenia is prone to various types of shocks, WFP works with partners to develop shock-responsive social protection policies, protocols and procedures. This includes training for government and other partners’ workforces. In parallel, WFP provides food cards to thousands of people, to help them meet rising needs.
WFP supports the Government and other partners in their efforts to eradicate food insecurity, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We further support the Government's Development Strategy.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Armenia
WFP has been implementing school feeding since 2010, with the aim of full nationalization by 2023. In 2019, WFP, in cooperation with the Government, started work that enables schools to contribute to community development and improve the local economy. This is done through a more sustainable and nutrition-sensitive approach to school meals, by introducing green technologies – including solar stations, school gardens and greenhouses – as well as bakeries which produce wholegrain products and vocational training.
Food value chains
WFP Armenia increases the availability of, and access to, nutritious, locally produced foods. This involves a “farm to fork” approach, investing in farmers, mills and bakeries, as well as opportunities provided by tourism. The goal is to strengthen resilience through investment in food systems that are climate sensitive and economically sustainable, and that create opportunities for inclusive growth.
WFP, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, helps social-assistance policies address food insecurity and malnutrition, while integrating early action and shock-responsive approaches. To support this, WFP is piloting social-protection tools that improve access to food in general and during shocks. An example is the Food Card, which allows people to buy food from selected supermarkets.
Social behaviour change
Social behaviour change cuts across all of WFP’s programmes, to increase understanding of how decision-making and other behaviour determines the success of activities. This is done in conjunction with communities and people in need, for example through children cooking healthy versions of their favourite food.
WFP’s projects include climate-proofing WFP-supported activities, for example by providing access to solar-energy technologies for small and medium-sized enterprises, and for schools. WFP provides communities with drip irrigation and rainwater-collection systems, and training on soil and water-management techniques, and composting practices. WFP has also worked with communities on irrigation schemes, to increase resilience to climate shocks and boost livelihoods in agriculture.
WFP Armenia enhances partnerships with government ministries and other groups, agencies and organizations, to reduce poverty and eradicate hunger. WFP strengthens the capacities of partners and develops sustainable solutions that address multiple food security issues. This involves extensive policy dialogues and consultations, and the exchange of knowledge on international best practices in all aspects related to food systems and food security. WFP has provided support to the formulation of the national Food Security Strategy and Action Plan.
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