WFP/Rachel Hofer

The Situation

Nicaragua is a low-income, food-deficit country and considered one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Roughly 29 percent of households live in poverty and 8.3 percent live in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day. Poverty levels are higher in rural areas, where 50 percent of the population is poor and 11.5 percent live in extreme poverty. The highest rates of chronic malnutrition occur in the departments of Madriz—30 percent—and Jinotega and Nueva Segovia—28 percent—all located in the northern Dry Corridor.

Nicaragua is vulnerable to recurrent natural disasters that impede progress in addressing poverty and food insecurity. It is ranked fourth in the Long-Term World Climate Risk Index. Food insecurity in Nicaragua is closely related to poverty, recurrent natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Agriculture is the primary economic activity in Nicaragua and engages almost 70 percent of the population, contributing to 20 percent of the country’s GDP. Roughly 300,000 people need food assistance.

World Food Programme's Work

WFP supports the Government of Nicaragua’s Zero Hunger Programme by strengthening social safety nets, addressing the prevention of chronic malnutrition and improving the food security of smallholder farmers. WFP has been present in Nicaragua since 1971.

  • Nutrition: WFP provides nutritional support to vulnerable groups including mothers and children living in communities with high chronic malnutrition rates in municipalities recurrently affected by drought in Nueva Segovia and Madriz.
  • School meals: The school meals program supports access to education with a daily meal to pre and primary school children in the most food insecure municipalities including Jinotega. WFP also provides nutrition education, school gardens, infrastructure improvement, technical assistance and training to government staff and, strengthening of community organizations.
  • HIV/AIDS: The mitigation and safety nets program aims to enhance adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV affected people in Managua and Chinandega.
  • Sustainable development: WFP supports sustainable development by improving the income of smallholder farmers, connecting them to local markets by leveraging WFP’s food demand and developing farmers’ agricultural production capacity and quality. WFP also leverages its purchasing power to link smallholders to social safety nets programs.