WFP/David Orr

The Situation

Since 1987, steady growth in Mozambique has averaged above 7 percent, with growing per capita incomes along with population growth of over 10 percent in urban areas. While these positive markers have led to increased investment and exports from selected megaprojects, they have not trickled down to the poor.

Large sections of Mozambique remain poor, with some 52 percent of the population living below the poverty line and 44 percent in severe poverty. Half a million children aged 6-23 months are undernourished and 34 percent of the population is chronically food-insecure. While seventy percent of Mozambique’s population lives in rural areas, urban food insecurity is an increasing problem. The country’s stunting prevalence for children under age five is high at 43 percent. These problems are further aggravated by the high HIV prevalence (10.8 percent and ranked 8th globally), and chronic exposure to weather-related hazards.

Approximately 1.5 million people in southern and central Mozambique are acutely food-insecure due to severe drought that has affected six of Mozambique’s 11 provinces. The country is impacted by drought every two to three years, although the southern part of the country has experienced drought conditions for five of the last seven years. Prolonged dry spells lead to drought conditions particularly in remote areas where agriculture is absolutely dependent on rain to maintain adequate crop production. As a result, vulnerable communities may experience reduced access to water, outbreaks of communicable diseases, hunger and eventually malnutrition. Education authorities are reporting an alarming surge of students who have dropped out of school in the most drought-affected areas.

Flooding also occurs every two to three years along the seven major river systems that cross the country. The most likely time for flooding is from November to March in the southern region of the country and from January to April in the central and northern regions, due to heavy rains in Mozambique and neighboring countries.

World Food Programme's Work

WFP aims to support human and social development through improved basic nutrition and scaling up social protection programmes. Specific activities include supporting home-grown school meals; strengthening livelihoods by enhancing smallholder farmers’ opportunities to access markets; and improving food security information for disaster risk reduction.

  • Food-for-assets: From late 2015 to mid-2016, WFP supported about 53,150 people through these activities in seven districts across three provinces. In exchange for food, beneficiaries create or rehabilitate community assets in order to reduce the impact of shocks such as the drought. Activities include the construction and rehabilitation of dams; small water supply systems; drought tolerant seed multiplication like sweet potato and cassava; multiplication of pineapple trees, cashew trees and other fruit trees; and rehabilitation and maintenance of access roads. Considering the increased need and the capacity of other local partners, WFP plans to further scale up its operations to reach 700,000 people in the most affected provinces and districts and meet their basic food needs over the next 12 months.
  • Nutrition: Roughly 191,000 children are expected to be malnourished over the course of the next 12 months in six provinces affected by the drought. WFP is about to start the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition for children under age five and pregnant and lactating women in districts with the highest malnutrition rates. This will be implemented in close cooperation with UNICEF and other partners through the national health system, aiming at strengthening local capacities. Through this nutritional component, WFP plans to provide treatment to 44,000 malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women over the next 12 months.
  • Emergency school meals: WFP will start emergency school meals to prevent children from dropping out of school due to drought. This will cover 100,000 drought-affected children in the Gaza and Inhambane provinces.

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