Food Security Improves in Guinea Bissau

BISSAU - March 23, 2011 - The Emergency Food Security Support Project (EFSSP) has been in effect in Guinea-Bissau since October 2008. At the request of the Government of Guinea Bissau, the World Bank implemented the project as a response to the 2008 international food price crisis. The objective of EFSSP is to improve food security for the most vulnerable populations, including children, and increase smallholder rice production in project areas.

The project is designed to support the most vulnerable populations through: (i) school feeding; and (ii) food-for-work program to rehabilitate land for rice production. The implementation of school feeding programs started on March 4, 2009 in most schools and the food-for-work program started on April 2, 2009. At the moment, the school feeding program is being implemented in 116 schools in five regions.

As of February 2011, the project is well on its way to achieving the project objective. The number of students receiving one meal a day on average was 14,102 and about 49 percent of them were girls against a target of 14,000 meals a day. The project has also generated 285,000 work days against a target of 160,000 workdays initially planned for the duration of the project. About 9,100 tons of paddy rice is estimated to have been produced on the rehabilitated rice land under the project, exceeding the project target of 7,500 tons.

The satisfactory progress towards achieving the project objective is mainly due to the successful implementation of the school feeding program, rehabilitation of land and rice production in 2009 and 2010. It is expected that the project will further contribute to rice production in 2011 since more support will be provided through micro-projects.

The support under this project has been strengthened by a second parallel operation funded by the European Union Food Crisis Rapid Response Facility Trust Fund (EUFRF). This project has similar development objectives and project components with the original project. However, there are two minor differences between the two operations. While the Bank funded project will be implemented over the three year period from October 2010 to September 2011, the EUFRF will be implemented over an 18 month period from March 2010 to August 2011. Also, instead of rehabilitation of new rice lands, the food-for-work program under EUFRF deals with the rehabilitation of rural feeder roads in the project areas.

As of February 2011, the number of students receiving one meal a day under EUFRF on average was 27,962 and about 48 percent of them were girls. This was against a target of 28,000 students. The data on the food for work program is still being compiled by the World Food Program and is expected to have exceeded the target. Data on rice production will be measured only at the end of the 2011 agricultural season.