Eswatini has made progress in economic growth and sustainability since 2010. However, It is estimated that 29 percent of the Eswatini population are facing severe acute food insecurity and urgently require humanitarian assistance. The prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition remains a pressing concern across the country. Chronic malnutrition and stunting affect 26 percent of children aged under 5.
Farming is an important source of food and livelihoods for 70 percent of rural families. However, Eswatini is vulnerable to climate change, with frequent droughts, erratic rainfall and prolonged dry spells all affecting food production. Other factors include inadequate farming technologies, low investment in seeds, fertilizers and equipment, and structural barriers preventing access to formal markets. As a result, the country depends on imports to feed its people.
Eswatini is likely to face a below-average harvest in 2023/24, for both consumption and cash crops, compared to 2022/23. Approximately 30 percent of all food produced is lost post-harvest due to poor harvesting, handling, storage and transport infrastructure.
The Government of Eswatini, with support from the World Food Programme, is taking steps to improve national food and nutrition security. This includes safety nets to vulnerable people affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS, particularly pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Eswatini
WFP provides cash-based transfers and food to the most vulnerable families across the country. In 2023, we reached 54,800 people with cash-based transfers and 54,600 children with nutritional support.
Home-Grown School Feeding
WFP works with the Government to improve and promote education under the Home-Grown School Feeding programme. Locally procured produce also increases incomes for smallholder farmers and boosts the local economy. Working with the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO, WFP provides training in climate-smart technologies, food production and pricing, marketing access, and food safety and preparation, to smallholder farmers from 17 registered farmer cooperatives, so they can provide food that meets the required standards.
Social safety nets and livelihoods
WFP provides safety nets to over 90,000 vulnerable people including those living with or at high risk of contracting HIV and tuberculosis, people living with disabilities, and orphans and vulnerable children of pre-primary school age across Eswatini. In collaboration with clinics and support groups, WFP provides food assistance to 2,000 households of people living with HIV/tuberculosis, and to critically malnourished pregnant or breastfeeding women and children. Approximately 1,700 community volunteers run nutrition-sensitive neighbourhood care point programmes, with food assistance supporting over 59,000 children aged under 5.