About 148,458 persons are food insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity in The Gambia, a comprehensive household report by the World Food Programme revealed.
This represents about 8 percent of the country’s 1.9 million people, and 0.6 percent are said to be severely food insecure, an increase in the proportion of the food insecure population from 5.6% in 2011.
At least 29.1 percent of the households interviewed were found to be marginally food insecure.
According to the report, food insecurity disproportionately affects households residing in predominantly rural areas.
Basse, Kuntaur, Janjangbureh and Mansakonko were found to have the highest number of food insecure households in the country with the number of food insecure households ranging between 12 percent and 18 percent.
The report stated that majority of Gambian households do not earn more than US$500 (D20,500) annually and monthly household expenditures are approximately US$250 (D10,643) with expenditure on food accounts for approximately 52 percent of the total expenditure.
“Gambian households largely rely on purchase of food for consumption, have family members who work away from home for more than six months during the year, and depend on informal credit sources (e.g. neighbors, relatives, traders) when borrowing money. Rising food prices and natural disasters are the most prominent factors that have negatively impacted Gambian households’ food access and put them at risk of becoming food insecure in recent years,” the report stated.
The objective of the 2016 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis is to update the food security and vulnerability situation in the country and also provide comparative data to enable trend analysis over the past five years.
It gives the government and humanitarian partners with information on the areas and population groups that are most food insecure and malnourished.
It also aims to understand why they are food insecure, and how food or other assistance can make a difference in reducing hunger and supporting their livelihoods and if possible, recommend targeting criteria for the different socio-economic groups.
The European Union on Thursday issued a €11.5 funding aimed at improving food security and treatment of acute malnutrition and prevention of undernutrition to The Gambia.