The Republic of Nicaragua
Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
Nicaragua is a low-income, food-deficit country, ranked 125th out of 188 nations on the United Nations Human Development Index (2015) and one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Agriculture is the primary economic activity in Nicaragua and engages almost 70 percent of the nation's population and contributes to 20 percent of the country's GDP (Fourth National Agricultural Census CENAGRO IV, 2011).
Among Nicaragua’s population of just over 6 million people, food insecurity is closely linked with poverty, with the effects of climate change and with natural disasters. The country ranks fourth in the Long-Term World Climate Risk Index (Germanwatch 2016).
What are the current issues in Nicaragua?
Malnutrition and poverty
Almost 30 percent of Nicaragua’s households live in poverty and over 8 percent struggle in extreme poverty, surviving on less than US$1.25 daily (INIDE 2015).
Some 17 percent of children aged under five in Nicaragua suffer from chronic malnutrition, a problem that is particularly notable in the departments of Nueva Segovia, Madriz, and Jinotega where between 28 percent and 29.5 percent of children aged under five are chronically malnourished.
WFP studies have shown that stunting - which is caused by chronic malnutrition - among children aged under three in areas targeted by WFP for assistance is higher than the national average.
Nicaragua is vulnerable to recurrent natural disasters such as droughts, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes – all of which impede progress in addressing poverty and food insecurity.
What is the World Food Programme doing in Nicaragua?
Present in Nicaragua since 1971, WFP works to break the inter-generational cycle of undernourishment and hunger among the most vulnerable through programmes that support health, education and agricultural activities while working to build resilience in food-insecure households.
Improving maternal and child nutrition.
Through Mother-and-Child health activities, WFP provides nutritional support to vulnerable groups in communities with high levels of chronic malnutrition. Children at the pre-school and primary-school levels receive hot, nutritious meals through the National School Meal Programme – one of the largest social safety nets in the country and supported by WFP.
Supporting local farmers
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.
Longer term solutions
Families are helped to develop more sustainable livelihoods through such resilience-building activities as Food For Assets and Food For Training (FFA/FFT). WFP also supports the Government with nutrition, education, school gardens, technical assistance and infrastructure improvement, as well as strengthening community organizations.
World Food Programme partners in Nicaragua
WFP cannot fight global hunger and poverty alone. These are our partners in Nicaragua:
- Nicaragua Ministry of Education
- Nicaragua Ministry of Health
- National Institute of Agricultural Technology
- National System of Prevention, Mitigation and Attention of Disasters.
Want to know more about WFP partners? Visit WFP's Partnerships section.
Featured Nicaragua publications
A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.
Looking for more publications on Nicaragua? Visit the Nicaragua publications archive.