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Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) is facing a long-running socioeconomic crisis that is already affecting the population throughout the country. In 2020, the Gross Domestic Product declined for the seventh consecutive year, this time by 3 percent.

According to estimates by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, in 2018 one-third of all people living in extreme poverty in Latin America were in Venezuela, up from 8 percent in 2014.

Over the years, access to nutritious food and a diversified diet has become increasingly expensive. According to the World Food Program's food security assessment, carried out in 2019, 2.3 million people were severely food insecure and in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. This situation is likely to have been exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has strained livelihoods across the Latin American region.

The 2019 WFP Food Security Assessment also showed that 74 percent of households were implementing food-related coping strategies, reducing the variety and quality of the food they ate, while 60 percent also reported having to reduce the size of their meals. To survive, 33 percent of households agreed to work in exchange for food as payment and 20 percent sold household assets to cover basic needs. Six out of ten families spent their savings to buy food. As families exhaust the coping mechanisms used to sustain consumption of staple foods, there is great concern that nutritional needs will not be met. 

The pandemic has forced many companies to close or reduce their activities, and has also reduced remittances from workers living abroad. In addition, household incomes have been affected, due to the high cost of living generated by the accumulated inflation, which by December 2021 closed at 686.4 percent. Although in the first months of 2022, this period of hyperinflation has come under control,  the interannual figure remains at 340 percent. People continue to have no access to foreign currency or other sources of income beyond the minimum wage and  are struggling to get by.

Economic hardship has led to large-scale population movements. In February 2022, there were more than 6 million migrants and refugees from Venezuela worldwide, of whom almost 5 million (80 percent) were in neighbouring countries, especially Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

In April 2021, the Government and WFP signed a memorandum of understanding, allowing WFP to establish a presence in the country and provide humanitarian support. WFP's operations in the country focus on school meals as an entry point to reach food insecure communities throughout the most vulnerable areas of the country.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Venezuela

School meals

Through its school meals programme, WFP supports children in pre-primary schools, students with disabilities enrolled in special education schools and school personnel (teachers, cooks and administrative staff). All beneficiaries receive take-home food rations to cover their nutritional needs for 30 days. Once the conditions for cooking in the schools are assured, WFP will gradually replace take-home rations with on-site meals.

Capacity strengthening

WFP is working with partners and school staff to strengthen their capacities to ensure that the school meals programme is implemented safely, respecting hygiene measures and humanitarian principles. In addition, WFP has assessed the infrastructure and identified the needs of more than 1,000 schools in Falcon, Trujillo, Yaracuy and Barinas states, aiming to start rehabilitating school kitchens to allow children to have their meals on-site.

Coordination

WFP is leading the Logistics Cluster and co-leading the Food Security Cluster, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). WFP provides humanitarian partners access to common services and tools with the aim to ensure an effective response during times of crisis, avoid duplication efforts and maximize synergies among partners, as we; as strengthen coordination and information sharing among humanitarian and development actors.

Partners and donors

Achieving Zero Hunger is the work of many. Our work in Venezuela is made possible by the support and collaboration of our partners and donors, including:
Agencia Adventista para el Desarrollo y Recursos Asistenciales (ADRA) Canada Caritas Venezuela Centro de Animación Juvenil (CAJ) Centro de Formación Popular Renaciendo Juntos (CEPOREJUN)

Contacts

Office

Avenida Francisco de Miranda, Edificio Parque Ávila, Caracas 1060, Miranda, Venezuela
Venezuela