Armenia is an upper-middle income, landlocked, net food-importer country, which has gone through a profound transformation since its independence in 1991. However, gains from economic progress and structural reforms over the past two decades have not benefited the population equally, 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. With the identification and deployment of new drivers of growth, Armenia holds high potential to lay the foundations for sustainable and equitable development.
In 2020, three Food Security Assessments carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP) during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the interconnection between poverty and food insecurity, identifying access to nutritious food as the main cause for poor nutrition among the population. Women-led households are particularly food insecure.
However, thanks to the combined efforts of the Government, civil society and other partners, since mid-2020 the levels of food insecurity have dropped from 15.3 percent in June-July 2020 to 9.2 percent in November-December 2020.
In Armenia, WFP supports the Government and other partners in their efforts to eradicate food insecurity in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and to implement the Government of Armenia’s Development agenda. Together with government line ministries and partners, WFP is contributing to the development of human capital, the improvement of health and the promotion of sustainable economic growth that benefits the whole population.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Armenia
To meet the growing food security needs of populations affected by shocks, WFP provides emergency food assistance and took part in the formulation of the Armenian Inter-Agency Response Plan. WFP provides services to the Government and other agencies for procurement of food and non-food items on request. In 2020, WFP also supported the procurement of urgent medical supplies and equipment as part of the COVID-19 response.
Since 2010, WFP has been providing daily nutritious meals to 100,000 children through its school feeding programme, with the aim to improve the food security of children, contribute to their human capital development and invest in local markets through direct purchases of food. In 2020, WFP launched the transformative school feeding model to integrate school and community-based food productions, create job opportunities and provide training. Throughout the pandemic, WFP continued to provide food assistance to meet the needs of school children and their families.
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 to create income-generating opportunities.
To support health and nutrition, WFP analyzed dietary habits to inform nutrition-based Social Behavior Change Communication Campaigns and to improve nutrition awareness within the population, including schoolchildren. WFP provides support for research and evaluations that can contribute to the formulation of government policies and activities relating to nutrition and food security.
Disaster risk reduction
Due to the country’s vulnerability to shocks, WFP strengthens resilience by establishing food response mechanisms, creating staging facilities and supporting emergency preparedness efforts by the Government, as well as national and international actors.
All WFP activities involve elements of capacity strengthening and handover of WFP’s investments to the Government or communities. This will contribute to promoting food and nutrition security and achieving Zero Hunger in Armenia by supporting the establishment of government-owned safety nets addressing food security, nutrition and equitable development, as well as capacity assistance to the National Statistical Committee to include food security and nutrition tools into national surveys and assessments.
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