© WFP/Abeer Etefa
Armenia is an upper-middle income, landlocked, net food-importer country, which has gone through a profound transformation since its independence in 1991. Gains from economic progress and structural reforms over the past two decades have not benefited the population equally however, leaving smallholder farmers and women behind in particular.
One in four people still live below the poverty line, and levels of food insecurity can reach up to 24 percent in the rural northern regions. The country needs to identify and deploy new drivers of growth to lay the foundations for sustainable and equitable development.
The National Strategic Review, carried out by the Government with WFP in 2017, recognized that food insecurity and malnutrition were two key concerns for the country, and identified access to nutritious food as the main cause for poor nutrition among the population. Food insecurity goes hand in hand with the double burden of child malnutrition. The 2018 Global Nutrition Report identified the coexistence of two forms of malnutrition, namely overweight and anaemia. According to the report, half of the Armenian population is overweight.
WFP is supporting the Government of Armenia and partner efforts to eradicate food insecurity, in line with the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda, and to contribute to the Government of Armenia Development Transformative Strategy. Together with Government line ministries and partners, WFP‘s role will include contributing to human capital development, improving the health of the population, and ultimately contributing to sustainable economic growth that benefits the whole population.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Armenia
To meet the growing needs of Armenians affected by the pandemic, WFP is co-leading the Food Security sector and scaling up its response via nation-wide assessments, investments in food systems, the establishment of food reserves and the provision of food assistance. WFP coordinates efforts and, when needed, directly procures medical equipment in support of the Government and partners addressing the health emergency.
Since 2010, WFP has been providing daily nutritious meal to 100,000 children through its school feeding programme, with the aim to improve the food security of children, contribute their human capital development and invest in local markets through direct purchases. As of 2020, WFP has launched the transformative school feeding model to integrate school and community-based food productions, aiming to create job opportunities by providing trainings. WFP also provides nutrition education.
Food value chains
WFP supports smallholder farmers and agribusinesses to enhance the quality and quantity of nutritionally diversified food via investments in machineries, know-how and green technologies. Through its engagement in the production, processing, marketing and supply of food products, WFP’s goal is to increase the availability and accessibility of nutritious food in markets at affordable prices and create income-generating jobs.
To support health and nutrition, WFP analyzes dietary habits to inform nutrition Social Behavior Change Communication Campaigns and improves the nutrition education of the population, including children at school. WFP evaluates the causes of malnutrition in the country, and designs evidence-based policies and activities in support of the Government. A nutrition-sensitive approach is also streamlined across activities, from schools to food systems.
Disaster risk reduction
Due to the country’s vulnerability to shocks, WFP strengthens resilience by establishing food response mechanisms, creating staging facilities and improving the emergency preparedness of the Government, as well as national and international actors. WFP significantly supports the Government in establishing innovative mechanisms and improving coordination to ensure effective interventions during emergencies.
WFP supports the establishment of government-owned safety nets addressing food security, nutrition and equitable development. WFP jointly with the National Statistical Service carries out assessments leading to evidence-based policy making and participates in the elaboration of sectorial strategies. WFP’s ultimate goal is to integrate its programmes into the national social protection framework to ensure sustainable food security, economic growth and improved health in the country.