A middle income country, which enjoyed sustained economic growth between 2005 and 2014, Peru maintains high levels of inequality. Seven million people (22.7 percent of the population) live in poverty, and more than a million (4.3 percent) in extreme poverty, which is most prevalent in rural communities. In the departments of Piura, Cajamarca and La Libertad in the north-west, and in Apurímac in the southern central region, extreme poverty peaks at 25.7 percent.
Women make up the majority of the population living in extreme poverty, with as many as 30.4% of women not having access to personal income. Those that do have a personal income earn 30% less per month than their male counterparts.
Despite significant improvement in recent years, child malnutrition and anaemia rates remain high.
Malnutrition affects over 14 percent of children under 5, with peaks of 35 percent in the Huancavelica Department. Anaemia affects over 46 percent of children under the age of 3. Rates of anaemia had been decreasing over the past decade, but in the last five years the trend has reversed in some areas, affecting families across all income levels.
Up to 5.2 million Peruvians are highly or very highly vulnerable to food insecurity. Topography, climate, vulnerability to natural disasters, international commodity market fluctuations and limited purchasing power all contribute to food insecurity.
Peru is particularly prone to natural disasters, from occasional devastating earthquakes to recurrent floods and droughts, all of which can have a profound effect on nutrition. Every three to seven years El Niño warms the Pacific, causing a drop in vital anchovy stocks. Within Peru, El Niño modifies the local climate, triggering torrential rain, increased snow melt, flooding, or droughts. This results in lower food production, higher prices, and a fall in the nutritional status of the poorest people. Severe cold waves that may persist for several months cause the deaths of people and cattle and damage or destroy crops every year.
WFP supports government institutions by strengthening and developing their capacities in food security in order to improve the management of emergency response, and food and nutrition programmes. In emergency situations, WFP also supports the Government with projects related to food security, logistics and telecommunications.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Peru
WFP responds to poverty-related food insecurity and malnutrition by advising on school feeding, working with the government and private sector on social protection programmes, educating children and adults about micronutrient-rich foods and hygiene, and recommending the adoption of innovative practices in the food industry, such as fortifying key staples.
WFP provides technical assistance to Peru’s Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion on the national school feeding programme Qali Warma. Priorities include: enhancing the nutritional value of meals; applying the SABER methodology to strengthen the institutionalization of the programme; analyzing the consumption patterns of students; and conducting pilot studies to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables.
To help focus government interventions on those who are most in need, WFP maps vulnerability to food insecurity using its vulnerability analysis and mapping methodology (VAM). This helps guide emergency preparedness and response in the face of natural disasters, identify gaps in strategies to meet Sustainable Development Goal 2, and boost long-term resilience efforts.
Disaster risk management
In conjunction with the United Nations System in Peru, WFP is also assisting the Government in its implementation of its National Disaster Risk Management Plan. WFP aims to foster greater coordination among government entities at national, regional, department and municipal levels.