Skip to main content

Almost a quarter of the population in the DRC continue to face acute food insecurity as humanitarian needs grow to record levels

More than 25 million people continue to face crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released today. The country continues to be one of the world's largest food crises.

Despite high levels of hunger, the DRC boasts fertile lands and abundant water resources, and possesses the inherent capacity to attain self-sufficiency in food production and even extend its contributions to neighbouring countries. However, various underlying causes such as the intensifying conflict in eastern DRC and a lack of investment in rural development are preventing the country from becoming food sufficient.

The conflict in eastern DRC has disrupted vital agriculture production and the growth of essential infrastructure. This is a crisis fuelled by shifting armed group dynamics and resource struggles, exacerbated by deep-rooted geopolitical tensions. As a result, over 5.6 million people are now displaced from their homes in the three eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu.

“I am alarmed by the number of people who continue to face hunger across the country,’’ said Peter Musoko, the World Food Programme’s Country Director and Representative in the DRC. ‘’In such a fragile context, the cost of inaction is truly unthinkable. Together, we need to work with the government and the humanitarian community to increase resources for this neglected crisis.’’

"The food security crisis for many people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains critical, with several challenges - insecurity, devastation and lack of infrastructure, low access to quality inputs and finance, to name but a few - jeopardizing their chances of being able to properly feed themselves and their families. The only way to break the cycle and shift these trends is to help rural families increase their resilience and productivity," said Aristide Ongone Obame, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Representative in the DRC.

WFP faces a critical funding gap of USD$ 629.6 million over the next six months. In the absence of funding, WFP is unable to continue scaling operations to reach 3.6 million people and may have to scale-back assistance as early as October.

While those most in need of humanitarian assistance rely on agriculture for their subsistence, only 4.1 percent of humanitarian funding to food sectors goes to support agricultural livelihoods. Emergency livelihood interventions are cost-effective. For example, with a USD$ 80 vegetable production package, a family can quickly produce a variety of nutritious food worth USD$ 480 on the local market.

In 2023, FAO required USD$ 106.4 million to reach 1.8 million people with urgent livelihood support, including boosting rapid agricultural production, livestock, and fishing and providing pre-positioned emergency livelihoods support to conflict-stricken communities. To date, FAO faces a funding gap of approximately USD$ 80 million to support vulnerable farmers during the next agricultural campaign, starting in January 2024.

In addition to the immediate imperative of supporting life-saving initiatives, there is a pressing need to invest in solutions aimed at sustainably reversing food insecurity trends. It is crucial to implement a strategy that envisions continuity between emergency responses, post-emergency efforts, and actions aimed at advancing food systems while enhancing the resilience of populations to the various shocks they routinely face.

# # #

Note for editors.
High levels of acute food insecurity (or acute hunger) refers to populations in IPC Phase 3 or higher. Populations classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) need urgent action to save lives, reduce food consumption gaps and protect livelihoods. In Phase 3, families may resort to less preferred or less nutritious food or may skip meals or sell productive assets to put food on the table; in Phase 4, they may resort to more extreme strategies such as selling the last animal that provided them with a means of livelihood or begging.

About FAO
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It aims to transform agrifood systems, making them more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind. FAO's goal is to achieve food security for all and ensure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

Follow us on Twitter @FAOnews, @FAOAfrica and @FAORDCongo.

About WFP
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.


Hyacine Kacou-Amondji, FAO/DRC, Mob. +243 82 41 58 253,
Xavier Farhay, FAO/DRC, Mob. +243 81 43 53 728,

Claude Kalinga, WFP/ DRC, Mob. +243 818 124 239,
Shelley Thakral. WFP/DRC, Mob. + 243 817 006 744,