Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America and has the lowest GDP per capita. The country’s economy has grown in recent years, but 40 percent of the population remains in poverty. As a result, hunger in Nicaragua is a major problem. Here are the top 10 facts about hunger in Nicaragua.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Nicaragua

  1. Of children under five in Nicaragua, 17 percent are chronically malnourished. A lack of access to consistent, quality food leads to issues like stunting in children. In order to counter these results, children need to live in homes without food insecurity so they can grow and live to their full potential.
  2. Rates of malnourishment are higher in rural areas of Nicaragua. In some regions, the amount of chronically undernourished children can reach up to 29 percent. These areas are typically more affected by poverty and have limited access to food supplies beyond through agricultural means.
  3. Stunting and below-average height in children under three in Nicaragua are higher than the national average. Issues like stunting are impossible to avoid in a country with high rates of food insecurity; Nicaragua is one of many low-income countries whose children suffer from undernourishment and stunting.
  4. Hunger in Nicaragua is influenced by the country’s geographic location. Nicaragua is susceptible to unpredictable natural disasters like droughts, floods and earthquakes that limit agricultural production. Without a reliable source of food, Nicaraguans are more prone to food insecurity.
  5. Around 70 percent of the population works in agriculture. Since farming is so reliant on weather patterns, people can often be stripped of their means to live instantly by a natural disaster. The country’s dependence on agriculture combined with its erratic weather leads to higher rates of poverty and hunger.
  6. The World Food Program (WFP) has worked in Nicaragua since 1971. The WFP tries to end the cycle of hunger by promoting health and education programs. They aim to create resilience among families that are living with poverty and hunger.
  7. Around 300,000 people in Nicaragua need food assistance. With many people’s livelihoods tied to the unpredictability of the weather, there are a significant number in need of help. Nonprofits like the WFP provide critical relief to the people most in need.
  8. Nicaragua ranks fourth on the Long-Term World Climate Risk Index. This Index is a ranking of countries that are the most vulnerable to climate events based on geographic location and socio-economic information. Nicaragua ranks behind Honduras, Haiti and Myanmar — two of which are located in the same unstable region in Central America.  
  9. Sustainable development is key to fighting hunger in Nicaragua. The WFP works to connect farmers with markets to sell their products, and expands farmers’ production capacity and in turn, their incomes.
  10. The Nicaraguan government uses a School Feeding Program to fight undernourishment in children. Providing school meals massively helps hunger in children, but there are still many children not attending school that are unreached. Programs like this are essential in fighting malnourishment in Nicaragua.

Fight Against Hunger

These top 10 facts about hunger in Nicaragua underscore the need for more sustainable agricultural practices. Thankfully, organizations like the WFP are active and can join the fight against hunger.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr