Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Even though most people work on farms, hunger is widespread. The country’s economy has grown, but one third of the population still lives in poverty. Worst of all, Nicaragua is part of what’s known as the Dry Corridor, where prolonged droughts followed by heavy rain have destroyed more than half of farmers’ corn and bean crops, leaving millions hungry.
people need food assistance
of people work in agriculture
of people live in poverty
Hunger and Rain
Central America’s Dry Corridor – made up of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – faces erratic weather patterns fueled by climate change. It’s been devastating crops, and driving migration and hunger. Nicaragua ranks fourth in the Long-Term World Climate Risk Index and, like so many of its neighbors, faces increasingly intense droughts, floods and earthquakes. In this podcast, we spoke with Elio Rujano, a WFP communications officer in Panama who’s witnessed firsthand the impact climate change is having on families in the Dry Corridor who are already struggling to survive.
What are Nicaraguan people facing?
People’s livelihoods are tied to the weather: Around 70 percent of the population works in agriculture. Nicaragua’s dependence on farming - combined with all that extreme weather – means more and more hunger.
Rural areas, with limited access to food supplies and more poverty, face much higher rates of malnutrition.
1/2 million Nicaraguan kids are in living in emergency condition, and nearly 40 percent of children under 5 are chronically malnourished.
WFP has been in Nicaragua since 1971
We work to end the cycle of hunger through a wide range of health and education programs.
Through its Mother-and-Child health programs, WFP helps those most vulnerable to hunger: pregnant and nursing women and newborns. As kids get older, they receive meals through the WFP-supported National School Meal Program – one of the largest social safety nets in the country.
WFP supplies farmers with tool bundles, vegetable seeds and fertilizers. We also work to improve their access to water through irrigation projects, which expands their growing capacity. Then, we connect family farmers with regional markets so they can sell their products and earn an income.
A wide gender gap means women farmers face more significant challenges than men, especially when they try to access agricultural markets. WFP works toward gender equality through programs that promote positive attitudes and behaviors towards women’s inclusion in decision-making.
WFP helps families create sustainable livelihoods through programs like Food For Assets and Food For Training which teach valuable skills in exchange for food. We also support the Nicaraguan government with education, school gardens and infrastructure improvement to achieve self sufficiency.