© 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
NutritionIn line with the Governments’ strategy for reducing stunting to 35 percent by 2020, WFP is supporting decision making for prioritized, cost-effective interventions tailored per province, and the implementation of nutrition-sensitive interventions through its portfolio of food assistance. WFP also supports the Ministry of Health, jointly with UNICEF, in a wasting rehabilitation programme in 18 highly vulnerable districts in Cabo, Manica, Tete and Zambezia.
School mealsWFP is supporting the Ministry of Education and Human Development through a four-year transition period towards a nationally owned, funded and managed home-grown school meals programme integrated into the social protection framework. WFP-backed programmes provide meals to 100,000 school children, with 90,000 more receiving meals as part of WFP’s emergency response. WFP aims to expand its program to reach 158,071 children in 240 schools in 2021.
Food assistanceWFP is supporting food-insecure families – including refugees, internally displaced people and those hit by the El Niño-induced drought – with food or cash transfers during seasonal gaps in return for participation in labour aimed at supporting community livelihoods. Vulnerable people unable to engage in productive work receive unconditional food/cash transfers, complementing other essential services delivered by civil society associations.
Support to smallholder farmersWFP works to increase the number of smallholder farmers with a focus on women-led organizations by promoting labor-saving technologies and gender awareness training for women and men, manage and aggregate business, food storage and handling, and quality control to reduce post-harvest losses. In 2018, WFP will work to increase support for 11,500 small farmers.
Disaster risk reductionWFP works to support the preparedness, planning, management and coordination capacities of the National Directorate of Disaster Management (INGC) and Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN) to lead a systematic approach and improved alignment between WFP and other UN and NGO partners.