© WFP/Alexis Masciarelli
Located in southeastern Africa, Mozambique is a low-income, food-deficit country with a largely rural population of 28 million. It ranked 180 of 189 countries in the 2019 Human Development Index, 102 of 118 in the 2016 Global Hunger Index and 139 of 157 in the 2015 Gender Inequality Index.
Independence in 1975 was followed by a 16-year-long civil war which ended in 1992. Since then, two decades of peace and stability allowed Mozambique to make progress in social and economic terms. The Peace and Reconciliation agreement was signed in July 2019 and the government and international forces jointly initiated the process of demilitarization, demobilization and reintegration.
In 2015, the country reached its Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry people. Chronic food insecurity is now estimated at 24 percent and malnutrition at 25 percent. However, despite these impressive achievements, significant challenges to food and nutrition security remain.
Most people cannot afford the minimum costs for an adequately diversified diet. Coupled with other factors – such as high rates of infectious and water-borne diseases and limited access to health services, water and sanitation – this lies at the roots of persistently high levels of malnutrition, which affects 43 percent of children under 5, with peaks of 46 percent in rural areas.
Similarly, food insecurity also varies considerably across regions as shocks affect different locations to different degrees. Over 1.6 million people are at risk of acute food insecurity, and this is expected to rise to up to 1.9 million during the lean season, between September 2019 and March 2020.
The current level of food insecurity was caused by multiple shocks. In 2019, Mozambique suffered from a lack of rainfall, extreme rains, cyclones, floods, pests, and insecurity in the northern areas. Poor performance of the rainy season in the south and the impact of cyclones Idai and Kenneth in the central and northern parts of the country resulted in major agricultural losses, destruction of infrastructure, assets and livelihoods, internal displacement and other damages. As of August 2019, 2.5 million people were in need of assistance.
Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. It is highly vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions which destroy infrastructure and restrict economic growth, hindering efforts to achieve environmental sustainability and to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Although the southern and central regions are prone to drought, floods frequently occur along major river basins and in poorly-drained urban settlements. Two out of three people live in coastal areas and are vulnerable to rapid-onset disasters such as cyclones, storms and flash floods.
In response to these challenges, the Government of Mozambique has recognized food and nutrition security as key priorities within its Five-Year Plan, which emphasizes the importance of improved access to food, living conditions and the development of human capital.
WFP has been present in Mozambique since 1977 and works to support and add value to the Government’s Zero Hunger agenda, with a focus on improving the food security and strengthening the resilience of individuals and communities, in the face of multiple shocks and stressors.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Mozambique
WFP supports the government in addressing malnutrition in all its forms. This includes the co-chairing of the Nutrition Partners Forum, the Scale-Up Nutrition (SUN) UN/Donor Network and the SUN Business Network, and support in the design of an integrated Food Security and Nutrition Information System. During emergencies, WFP also supports the Ministry of Health, jointly with UNICEF, in a wasting rehabilitation programme in 38 highly vulnerable districts. WFP’s stunting reduction activities combine Food Assistance for Assets, post-harvest loss and social behavior change and communication for maternal and child health services.
WFP supports the Ministry of Education and Human Development through technical assistance in the design, mobilization of financial resources and implementation of a sustainable school feeding programme as an investment for the development of human capital. Local procurement of food for the programme contributes to economic development. In 2020, WFP is supporting more than 200,000 children in over 300 schools.
WFP is supporting food-insecure families – including refugees, internally displaced people and those affected by the cyclones – with food or cash transfers during seasonal gaps in return for participation in the creation of community and household assets aimed at supporting community food security, livelihoods and resilience to future shocks and climate change. Vulnerable people unable to engage in productive work receive unconditional food/cash transfers.
Support to smallholder farmers
With a focus on women-led organizations, WFP aims to strengthen smallholder farmers’ capacity to act collectively, improve the quality of harvested products, storage, marketing for increased incomes and improved terms of purchase agreements with private-sector buyers. This includes the promotion of labor-saving technologies and gender awareness training for women and men, as well as training on business management and aggregation, food storage and handling, and quality control to reduce post-harvest losses.
The Technical Secretariat for Food and Nutrition Security (SETSAN) and the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) are key institutional counterparts for WFP Mozambique’s capacity strengthening efforts for preparedness, response and recovery activities from weather-related shocks. Through its Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) capacity, WFP supports the Government and partners on food security and nutrition and market assessments, using traditional and innovative methodologies such as UAV technology and geospatial information systems for mapping and assessments.
Resilience and climate-change adaptation
WFP puts a strong emphasis on climate change adaptation programmes (climate services, village savings and loans, and insurances) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in view of contributing to strengthening the resilience of communities to future shocks. WFP aims to expand long-term asset base, build robust partnerships with government technical services as well as the private sector, expand purchases from farmer organizations and support their linkages to institutional demand.