Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
What are the current issues in Jordan
Jordan is a resource-poor, food-deficit country with limited agricultural land, no energy resources and scarce water supply. While the country has made progress in socio-economic development and poverty alleviation, unemployment and inflation remain fundamental problems. Jordan’s economic situation has deteriorated drastically over the past five years. The repercussions of the global food, fuel and financial crisis have eroded most of the economic gains the country has made. The high volatility of the regional political context places extra burden on Jordan.
Since the onset of the Syrian crisis, Jordan has shouldered the impact of a massive Syrian refugee influx across its borders. Today, those refugees account for nearly 10 percent of the kingdom’s population, placing substantial pressure on its over-stretched resources at one of the most difficult economic periods in its history.
The agricultural sector, a source of income for more than 15 percent of the population, continues to grapple with the challenges of scarce water supply, recurrent drought, urbanization and desertification, consequently producing no more than 8 to 10 percent of cereal requirements. Over 90 percent of cereal needs are imported, with Jordan amongst the countries most affected by international food price rises.
In 2014, WFP plans to assist some 160,000 food insecure and vulnerable Jordanians who have been worst affected by the protracted economic crisis aggravated by the Syrian conflict. In addition WFP will assist 320,000 school children under the national school feeding project.
In addition to its food assistance schemes, this year WFP launched a cash-for-training programme in Jordan in a bid to support the government in reducing unemployment.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Jordan
The repercussions of the global financial crisis coupled with the massive influx of Syrian refugees has had dire consequences on the Jordanian economy. With public debt amounting to over seventy per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, the government has taken a number of measures to slash spending, including removal of fuel subsidies, and gradual lifting of electricity and water subsidies. During this transitional period, WFP is providing support to vulnerable Jordanians who are expected to be most impacted by these austerity measures.
Assistance to Food Insecure and Vulnerable Jordanians
WFP launched in December 2013 an 18-month assistance programme to assist 160,000 vulnerable Jordanians affected by the extended economic crisis through cash and food transfers. WFP plans to enhance the food security status of targeted beneficiaries by addressing short-term food needs through direct food assistance. It also plans to lay the basis for sustainable interventions with longer-term impact through food-for-assets/training activities that allows young men to hone their professional skills. WFP launched this training thanks to a donation from the US Government's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) in addition to contributions from the private sector companies in Jordan.
WFP is assisting the government in implementing a national school meals programme from end of 2013 until 2016 reaching up to 320,000 school children in the most vulnerable and food insecure areas. WFP is also providing school feeding in camps for Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Assistance for Syrian Refugees
WFP is providing food assistance to over 560,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan through electronic and paper vouchers. This programme has been contributing to job creation in Jordan, infrastructure investment, as well as generating additional tax revenues for the government. Refugees living in camps are also receiving daily fresh bread distributions; WFP is distributing over 20 tons of bread a day. To prevent and treat malnutrition in children under the age of 5 as well as in pregnant and nursing mothers, WFP is providing a specialized nutrition product, Super Cereal plus, with the aim of reaching almost 17,000 mothers and children.
Featured Jordan publications
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