WFP Guinea-Bissau Conducts Food Security Assessments
The Guinea-Bissau UN cluster system was reactivated afer the country's coup on 12 April. WFP has been leading the food cluster, monitoring the food security situation with FAO and national and international NGOs.
WFP staff members travelled to all regions of Guinea Bissau to conduct food security assessments. Here, Jose Batista, WFP Programme Assistant and Lassana Camara from local NGO EAPP listen to Jose Soares, a farmer in the Tombali Region.
Staff of WFP and partner NGOs visit a nutrition centre in the South Tombali region as part of the food security assessments. The objectives of the assessments were to determine price levels of food commodities and of cashew nuts, Guinea Bissau’s principal cash crop; availability of food reserves at the household level and households’ coping mechanisms in case of depleted food reserves.
Jose Batista, WFP Programme Assistant, talks with Magido Djalo, a food trader in Tombali Region. The food security assessment found that the harvest of cashew nuts, Guinea Bissau’s principal cash crop, has dropped by 30 to 35 percent compared to last year's harvest due to erratic rainfall.
The surveys showed that the 2011 harvest was not a strong one. As a result, communities have started with lower rice stocks than usual. In certain vulnerable communities, rice seeds, normally put aside for the next planting season, were already being eaten. Many families have reduced their number of daily meals from three to two.
Eva Sena de Melo, Head of the Bafata sub-office, talks to teachers at Cambadju Basic School during the food security assessment.
Based on the results of the food security survey, WFP and FAO are preparing an action plan on seed stock availability, seed bank storage capacity and seed multiplication centres available in the country. This plan of action shall also include the distribution of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds to ensure the timely planting of seeds for the 2012 harvest.
The political and the socio-economic situation of Guinea-Bissau has been shaken on 12th April by the military coup d’état, causing the paralysation of all public services and schools and forcing several families to flee Bissau and seek refuge in different regions of the country.
WFP has since fielded a sequence of quick field missions to assess the evolution of the food security situation in the country. Information collected with the collaboration of the local NGOs included: the influx of people; the rice stocks available; the price fluctuation of the basic foodstuffs; and the commercialization of cashew nuts. Several Regular field missions have been undertaken as from 17th April countrywide, covering 26 sectors in all regions, including Bissau, but excluding Bolama and the archipelago of Bijagós.