Armenia

In Armenia, hunger has been a problem faced by its citizens since the country gained independence in 1991. However, through steady economic growth and the implementation of strategies from global agencies, the country’s hunger issue has been slowly reducing. Here are the top ten facts about hunger in Armenia:

  1. Hunger is closely related to poverty, as people that live under the poverty line tend to be the most food insecure. As of 2015, six percent of the Armenian population was undernourished. Hunger in Armenia tends to rise and fall as a result of the country’s economic stability. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, food insecurity in the country has almost doubled, as an estimated 16 percent of families were classified as food insecure in 2015.
  2. Armenia is a low to middle income, landlocked country that relies on imports for most food. Because of this, the country and its citizens are reliant on other countries for stability. When surrounding countries are in financial downturn, it takes a negative effect on Armenians as well. The country has had slow economic development since 1991 when borders with neighboring countries Turkey and Azerbaijan were established post-Armenian independence. Due in large to its slow economic growth, 29.4 percent of Armenians lived in poverty as of 2016.

  3. In Armenia, the effect of hunger is visible in two main ways: stunted growth and being overweight. Approximately 9 percent of Armenian children under five have had their growth stunted while 14 percent were overweight as of 2015. To some, it may be surprising that people can be overweight while still food insecure, but it is more common than one might think. Because many people who are food insecure are also impoverished, they tend to purchase food based on quantity over quality. This results in the intake of less-nutritious foods in low-income areas. In countries like Armenia, it has resulted in many of its poorer citizens becoming overweight.

  4. Armenia has reduced the country’s poverty rate from 54 percent in 1998 to 28 percent in 2008. After a brief rise and stagnation in the poverty rate, at approximately 32 percent after the global economic crises, the country’s poverty rate has again begun to fall.

  5. Organizations like the World Economic Forum and the World Bank are considering ways to reanalyze the causes behind Armenia’s hunger problems. More reasons for hunger, like education, health and labor, are being examined in addition to poverty.

  6. As Armenia’s hunger problem is examined from various perspectives, new solutions are being presented to combat the country’s food insecurity.

  7. One solution from the National Strategic Review of Food Safety and Nutrition is to apply healthcare, social protections and regional policies in order to reduce the disparities in hunger and malnutrition throughout Armenia. These policies will target hunger and food insecurity with strategies not traditionally used in the country.

  8. An additional solution is to raise public awareness about healthy nutrition and how to make better decisions about food choices. These public awareness and education campaigns would take place in remote communities where food education is not prevalent, giving way to unhealthy choices. The education campaign will also serve as a preventative measure against malnutrition and undernourishment by focusing on sustainable food choices.

  9. The solution to hunger and food insecurity in Armenia may be in the revision of policy that would protect the most underserved people. Part of this solution will include commencing vouchers to the unemployed, social assistance programs to children 3-5 years of age, as well as monetary and non-monetary plans to ensure nutritious food intake to beneficiary families of assistance programs.

  10. Armenia is a country still growing and recovering from many outside factors that have hindered the young country’s development. However, with newly proposed sustainable solutions and the promise of continued economic security, the country is beginning to address its hunger and food insecurity problem.

Armenia’s hunger problem is a complex and multi-causal issue. However, through steady advancement and changes to its economy and food programs, solutions are possible. These strategies are only a few of many to relieve hunger in the country. These top ten facts about hunger in Armenia are a brief way to understand a longstanding problem.

– Savannah Hawley

Photo: Flickr