Nicaragua is a low-income, food-deficit country and one of the poorest in Latin America. Agriculture, the primary economic activity, engages almost 70 percent of the population and contributes to 20 percent of the country's GDP.
Food insecurity is closely linked with poverty, with the effects of climate change and with natural disasters. Almost 30 percent of the families in the country live in poverty and over 8 percent struggle in extreme poverty, surviving on less than US$ 1.25 daily.
Some 17 percent of children aged under five suffer from chronic malnutrition, with peaks of between 28 and 29.5 percent in the departments of Nueva Segovia, Madriz and Jinotega. WFP studies have shown that stunting – below-average height caused by chronic malnutrition – among children aged under three in areas targeted by WFP for assistance is higher than the national average.
Nicaragua is vulnerable to recurrent natural disasters such as droughts, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes – all of which impede progress in addressing poverty and food insecurity.
WFP has been present in the country since 1971. Our work aims to break the inter-generational cycle of undernourishment and hunger among the most vulnerable through programmes that support health, education and agricultural activities while working to build resilience in food-insecure households.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Nicaragua
Through Mother-and-Child health activities, WFP provides nutritional support to vulnerable groups in communities with high levels of chronic malnutrition. Children at the pre-school and primary-school levels receive hot, nutritious meals through the National School Meal Programme – one of the largest social safety nets in the country, supported by WFP.
Supporting local farmers
WFP supports sustainable development by improving the income of smallholder farmers, connecting them to local markets by leveraging WFP’s food demand and developing farmers’ agricultural production capacity and quality.
Longer term solutions
WFP helps families to develop more sustainable livelihoods through resilience-building activities such as Food For Assets and Food For Training (FFA/FFT). WFP also supports the Government with nutrition, education, school gardens, technical assistance and infrastructure improvement, as well as strengthening community organizations.