WFP Provides the Poorest Rural Families in Kyrgyzstan With Food Assistance Through The Lean Season

Published on 25 April 2012

More than 370,000 poorest people in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan will receive three-month food rations from WFP this month following an unusually long and harsh winter. Photo:WFP/Voronin

The United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) will start distributing basic food commodities to support more than 370,000 people in rural areas who require assistance following the long, harsh winter. 

BISHKEK – The assistance will target the poorest families who are struggling to make ends meet and provide enough food for their families. According to the Kyrgyz Government and the most recent food price monitoring data from WFP, the price of food such as milk, meat and eggs, increased significantly during the winter, placing a great strain on cash-strapped households trying to maintain balanced diets. 
“People are spending substantially more on their food needs than in previous years due to high food prices forcing many poor families to resort to skipping meals or reducing meal sizes to ensure that all family members can eat,” said Michael Huggins, WFP Acting Country Director in the Kyrgyz Republic. “WFP’s food assistance this spring will help ease the struggle faced by these families so they can focus on growing food for the rest for the year.”
WFP will distribute about 6,000 metric tons of food commodities through a three-month ration of fortified wheat flour and vitamin-enriched vegetable oil.  Families who will receive WFP’s assistance have been identified through selection criteria agreed upon with the Ministry of Social Development including low income (less than 450 soms per person per month), small land plots and three or more children below the age of 14.
“WFP is our key partner in ensuring the poorest people throughout the country receive assistance that helps them overcome some of the social and economic hardships they face every day,” said Mr. Ravshanbek Sabirov, Minister of Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic. “We are thankful to WFP for the commitment to helping poor families meet their primary food needs and develop the country through innovative development projects in the agricultural sector.” 
“We hope that in the future these households will have the opportunity to improve their own agricultural output, as building resilience is the only way to have a sustainable future and reduce the need for external assistance,” said Michael Huggins.
WFP will augment its seasonal assistance to poor rural households by increasingly offering  food-for-assets programmes, providing communities the opportunity to build or rehabilitate agricultural infrastructure to boost agricultural production during the summer months, or help to mitigate against natural disasters that impact the country’s food security. This year more than 16,400 households in over 100 communities will benefit from these activities across the country.
Food security levels of the poorest people in the Kyrgyz Republic deteriorated this winter with 42 percent of households not being able to meet their basic food needs, compared with 31 percent a year ago. This reflects significant increases in the prices of milk (31 percent), eggs (15 percent) and meat (13 percent) between March 2011 and January 2012, compounded by a spate of natural disasters and a long winter which hit the purchasing power of poor households. 
WFP’s seasonal assistance will be implemented through several partners including ACTED in Osh and Batken, Coordination Centre for Support of NGOs in Jalal-Abad, Shoola in Issyk-Kul and Naryn and the Republican Centre of Health Promotion in Talas, as well as through close coordination with the Ministry of Social Development.