Susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to price fluctuations in agriculture-dependent regions, civil unrest, challenging geographic landscape and poor infrastructure have contributed to food insecurity in Nepal.
While food security has generally improved across Nepal in recent years, 20 percent of households are mildly food insecure, 22 percent are moderately food insecure and 10 percent are severely food insecure, according to the 2016 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). Overall, rural households are more likely to be food insecure than people living in urban households, according to the survey.
Nepal has made progress in reducing rates of stunting from 57 percent in 1996 to 36 percent in 2016 and wasting—15 percent to 10 percent during the same period—in children younger than 5 years of age. However, malnutrition remains a concern, particularly in Provinces 6 and 7. Additionally, the prevalence of anemia was approximately 46 percent among pregnant and lactating women and 74 percent among children ages 12–17 months in 2016, according to the DHS.
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with Mercy Corps to implement a five-year, resilience-focused development program—Promoting Agriculture, Health and Alternative Livelihoods (PAHAL)—that targets communities with high poverty and malnutrition rates in 14 districts located in the hills of Far and Mid-West regions. PAHAL aims to improve the nutritional status of people by increasing the capacity of vulnerable households to prevent, mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses
FFP also partners with Save the Children International (SCF) to implement the Sustainable Action for Resilience and Food Security (Sabal) development program in 11 districts of Nepal’s Central and Eastern regions. Sabal is a five-year, multisectoral community resilience program that aims to strengthen and diversify livelihoods, improve health and nutrition, and increase households’ capacities to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses.