Located on the southeast coast of Africa, Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975. This was followed by a 16-year-long civil war which ended in 1992. The two decades of peace and stability since have allowed Mozambique to make considerable progress in both social and economic terms. However, since 2013, renewed political disputes have led to a resurgence of armed conflict in parts of central and southern Mozambique.
In 2015, the country reached its Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry people. Chronic food insecurity now sits at 24 percent (down from 61 percent in 1997) and malnutrition at 25 percent (down from 56 percent in the early 1990s).
Despite these impressive achievements, significant challenges to food and nutrition security remain. The vast majority – 80 percent – of the population cannot afford the minimum costs for an adequate diet, and the situation is made worse by inflation and a rise in food prices, which in October 2016 recorded a five-year high.
Coupled with other factors – such as high rates of infectious diseases like malaria and poor access to health services, water and sanitation – poorly diversified diets lie at the roots of persistently high malnutrition, which affects almost half of children under 5. Stunting, or low height for age, affects 42.3 percent of children in the same age group, with higher prevalence in rural areas.
Like malnutrition, food insecurity also varies considerably across regions as shocks affect different locations to different degrees.
Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. It is highly vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions which destroy infrastructure and restrict economic growth, hindering efforts to achieve environmental sustainability and to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Although the southern and central regions are prone to drought, floods frequently occur along major river basins and in poorly-drained urban settlements. Two out of three people live in coastal areas and are vulnerable to rapid-onset disasters such as cyclones, storms and flash floods.
As a result of the current severe drought caused by El Niño – which caused harvests to be poor of fail altogether in 2016 – some 2 million people in the central and southern parts of the country are acutely food insecure, and this number is expected to increase further.
Mozambique hosts over 14,800 asylum-seekers, the majority of whom originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia. Maratane camp, the country's only refugee camp, in the Northern Province of Nampula, registers 200 new arrivals each month.
Following the political-military conflict in central and northern Mozambique, 8,000 - 10,000 Mozambican asylum seekers fled into Malawi and another 3,300 into south-eastern Zimbabwe. Many have been displaced internally.
WFP has been supporting the Government of Mozambique since 1977 in its efforts to reduce hunger and improve food security and nutrition. WFP’s work focuses on building the food security and resilience of individuals and communities, in the face of multiple shocks and stressors.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Mozambique
WFP supports the Ministry of Health in the development of sustainable systems for integrating nutrition services into the national health system. To combat malnutrition, WFP is supporting national efforts to promote fortification of foods – especially maize – including through small local producers. In 2016, WFP supported the adoption of a national law and 5-year government strategy on fortification.
WFP is supporting the Ministry of Education and Human Development through a four-year transition period towards a nationally owned, funded and managed home-grown school meals programme integrated into the social protection framework. WFP-backed programmes provide meals to 100,000 school children, with 90,000 more receiving meals as part of WFP’s emergency response.
WFP is supporting food-insecure families – including refugees, internally displaced people and those hit by the El Niño-induced drought – with food or cash transfers during seasonal gaps in return for participation in labour aimed at supporting community livelihoods. Vulnerable people unable to engage in productive work receive unconditional food/cash transfers, complementing other essential services delivered by civil society associations.
Support to smallholder farmers
WFP facilitates access to markets and the development of smallholder producer and processor capacity by increasing marketing infrastructure, market information, and improving commodity quality.
Disaster risk reduction
WFP works to strengthen the capacity of the National Directorate of Disaster Management (INGC) and the Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN) in risk analysis and mapping, early warning, and food and nutrition security analysis.