HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY AND MARKET PRICES
In July 2020, WFP Gambia embarked on supporting the Government to shift from face to face approach to remote data collection to ensure continued monitoring of the food security situation of households and market prices in the Gambia during the Covid-19 pandemic. The continuous mobile data collection covers all the 6 regions in the country.
There has been stability in the food security situation, with growing trends of households showing improved food consumption patterns. Proportions of families with poor food consumption, dropped from 25% reported in March 2020 by Cadre Hamonise, to 20%.
Prices of key staple foods are also reportedly stable. This is likely because of Government national food distributions combined with WFP and other partners responses to the COVID-19.
The 2020 March Cadre Harmonise (CH) food security assessment was updated in April through a rapid assessment to reflect the impact of COVID-19. The rapid assessment report indicated that 733,000 people would be vulnerable to food insecurity during the lean season due a poor 2019 cropping season as well as the effect of COVID-19. After the first Covid-19 case, the government of The Gambia responded with containment measures that included restrictions on economic activities such as closure of open “lumos” markets, and other businesses. The impact of Covid-19 was not factored in the CH analysis and the restrictions on economic activities deems it necessary for continuous monitoring of food security situation in the country as we try to cope with the pandemic.
It was against this backdrop that for the first time in The Gambia data is collected remotely through mobile calls (mVAM), a shift from face to face data collection due to Covid-19. WFP provided technical support and resources to the Government of The Gambia to commence remote monitoring across the country.
The food security situation was generally stable across the country, except for some pockets with poor consumption, particularly Kerewan (37%), Janjanburreh (30%) and Banjul (24%) higher than the national average of 20%. Food consumption in these regions has deteriorated compared to March 2020 CH, which is 5% in Banjul and 16%Kerewan. Overall, 52% of the households had moderate dietary diversity eating 3-4 food groups, while 8% had severe dietary diversity taking only 0-2 food groups. The poor dietary dietary diversity is worst in Kerewan and Banjul City.