An online ceremony was held and officiated by his Excellency Senator Thambo Gina – Minister of Economic Planning today to mark this significant contribution by Japan. The ceremony was attended by His Excellency Mr Norio Maruyama - Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Eswatini; Mr Menghestab Haile, WFP Regional Director for southern Africa and Mr Deepak Shah, WFP Eswatini Head of Office.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit several sectors of the economy particularly hard resulting in job losses which reduced income opportunities for households, leading to an increase of food and nutrition insecurity for vulnerable populations in Eswatini.
“In the Lubombo and Shiselweni region, 209,000 people are at a risk of food insecurity which constitutes about 50 percent of this vulnerable population,” said Deepak Shah, WFP Head of Office, Eswatini. “Of this Population, 50,000 people are estimated to be in emergency food insecurity severity and require an urgent and consistent response to address the life-saving support needed for them to meet their food and nutrition needs.”
The targeted population will receive a monthly food basket of 10kg cereal (rice and maize), 2kg beans and 0.5 kg of oil per person. In total WFP will procure 532 MT of rice, 1255 MT of maize, 357 MT of beans and 89 MT of cooking oil for distribution during the response period.
The support comes at a crucial time, as food insecurity levels in the country remain high, affecting the most vulnerable, which includes women and children. Results from the February 2021 Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (VAA) predicted that severe food insecurity is expected to worsen with start of lean season, when people’s food stocks run out and market prices are the highest, limiting people’s access to food, in October 2021.