Benin on the West African coast relies heavily on agriculture for food security and economic development. However, agricultural production is limited by factors including a lack of modern farming technology, poor soil and inadequate conditions for storing, preserving and processing food. This means that the country’s overall food security, nutrition and trade conditions are poor.
For the most vulnerable communities, a fragile situation is made worse by recurring floods and droughts, coupled with high food prices. More than one third of families are food insecure. Acute malnutrition affects 16 percent of children under 5, and 44.6 percent of the same age group suffer from chronic malnutrition. In some rural districts, school enrolment rates are under 50 percent.
WFP has been working in Benin since 1964, providing assistance to those affected by emergencies such as floods, droughts and the high food price crisis. The groups of people we work with include primary school children, orphans and vulnerable children, and people living with HIV.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Benin
WFP works with the Government of Benin to provide school meals to over 100,000 children in 364 public primary schools. This supports districts where there are high rates of poverty and chronic malnutrition, and where school enrolment rates are below the national average. Nutritious school meals increase enrolment and help students concentrate on their studies. Ingredients come mainly from small local farmers, encouraging community development.
Emergency operations and risk reduction
WFP helps communities affected by disasters, such as the drought and heavy floods that have plagued the country in recent years. In such emergencies, WFP provides urgent food supplies as well as running food-for-work activities that help repair community assets and rebuild livelihoods. We also help reduce the impact of future disasters by training the Government and other NGOs in Disaster Risk Reduction.