B. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The context of the Eswatini Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis for the 2019/20 period was guided by the need to provide current food security and livelihoods information to inform policy and programming decisions in the country. Specific areas covered included agriculture, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and education. The assessment took place at a time when there were a number of macro-economic challenges in the country, however an observable stability in consumer inflation reflected an opportunity for reduced vulnerability thus enhancing household food consumption. The Government of Eswatini’s Strategic Roadmap (2019-2023) advocates for the development of social security policies which from the outcomes of this assessment, this process would benefit immensely.
Earlier predictions of the 2018/19 rainfall season were inclined towards an El-Nino occurrence and this resulted in misinterpretation of early warning messages. The performance ultimately turned out to be more rainfall received later on in the season, thus some areas received more rainfall than normal. The overall result was reduced agricultural production compared to the previous year. This rainfall pattern had a positive effect on water and pasture availability.
The decline in cereal production (approximately about 15%) compared to the 2017/18 season, coupled with other drivers such as increase in the cost of food and loss of employment resulted in an increase in the food insecure population which increased by 66%. At the household level, some food security indicators such as the Coping Strategy Index (CSI), Food Consumption Score (FCS) and the Household Hunger Scale (HHS) were assessed to give a perspective of the severity of food insecurity. The Lubombo Region has the highest CSI compared to the other regions, however all are below the five-year average. Most households show improvement in the FCS across all the regions (at acceptable) with the exception of Lubombo which showed an increase in the number of households showing poor and borderline consumption.
Indicators for malnutrition in the four Administrative Regions were also measured. Stunting levels range between 23% -28% and this is attributable to a wide range of factors including targeted interventions, lack of awareness and changes in livelihoods. Stunting was also noted to be higher among males compared to females. Among adults, there were notable trends of obesity in adult females and the Shiselweni region surpassing all the other regions. In view of all these findings, medium to long term interventions should be put in place including addressing structural deficiencies, resilience and reducing dependence on non- home grown solutions.