Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo/2021

Ecuador

64%

of the population are small-scale farmers

2M

Ecuadorians are severely hungry

40%

of the rural population lives below the poverty line

The Situation

The mass migration of Venezuelans to neighboring countries, including Ecuador, has been called one of the largest in history and threatens the stability of the entire region. See what WFP is doing to ensure Venezuelans get the food they need and learn more about the world’s largest refugee crises

Ecuador is an upper middle-income country with a population of over 17 million people. In recent years, Ecuador has experienced declining poverty levels and increased investments in social policies, infrastructure, health and education. However, COVID-19 triggered a deep recession that led to a rebound in poverty.

The country experiences recurrent natural disasters, including droughts, floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. In April 2016, a devastating earthquake struck the northern coast, and reconstruction costs were estimated at nearly 3% of the GDP. This vulnerability to natural disasters, soil erosion, environmental degradation and climate change threatens the sustainability of Ecuador’s food systems.

WFP's Work

Since WFP first started in the country in 1964, its role has changed considerably, from the delivery of programs like school meals to an increasingly advisory role. The UN agency provides the government of Ecuador with technical and policy support in its fields of expertise and supports the country’s social protection safety nets through activities including:

  • Food and nutrition assistance: WFP provides emergency food assistance to more than 280,000 displaced people, migrants, returnees and other vulnerable Ecuadorians. WFP has also supported the government’s social protection program through cash-based transfers (CBT), which target Ecuadorian families severely affected by the pandemic and prioritize households with pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under 5 years old.
  • Agricultural support: WFP connects small-scale farmers to markets so that they can provide fresh, nutritious food for WFP´s programs like school meals. Farmers’ organizations also receive technical assistance. As women farmers – especially indigenous ones – face particular challenges, WFP prioritizes farmer organizations with a majority of women members and women in leadership positions.
  • Emergency preparedness: WFP provides technical assistance to improve emergency logistics coordination and supply chain management. WFP´s aim is to ensure that affected populations receive timely lifesaving assistance and the logistics supported needed before, during or after a disaster.