Despite a gross domestic product growth of over 6% in 2015, Mozambique’s population of almost 30 million remains one of the most vulnerable in the world, ranking 180 out of 188 countries in the 2015 Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
One third of the population is chronically food insecure. Undernutrition in children under five remains alarmingly high at 44%. The prevalence of vitamin A and iron deficiencies in children under five are also very high, at 69% and 74%. Such micronutrient deficiencies, also known as “hidden hunger”, lead to high social and public costs, reduced work capacity, and tragic loss of human potential.
Additionally, about 30% of the Mozambican population tends to consume too much of one type of food – e.g. maize, cassava, rice and wheat, or ultra-processed foods, which are inexpensive and filling, but lacking in vital micronutrients, such as vitamin A, iron, and zinc.
Low-income consumers living in cities are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. Approximately one third of Mozambicans are urban dwellers and this figure is rising at 1.5% per year.
Urban residents purchase most of their food in the marketplace, and this expenditure accounts for more than half of the urban household budget. Consumers with a steady income tend to buy basic goods in bulk, monthly; while purchasing loose vegetables, fish and chicken pieces daily depending on their financial means. Lack of awareness, due to the absence of information about the nutritious value of foods - coupled with the lack of choice of packaging sizes more adapted to the consumers’ purchasing habits- are further factors in the cycle of undernutrition.
In Mozambique, we support and advise the government, businesses and development partners as they build and mobilise food and nutrition plans to advance nutrition.
In the future, we will continue to build on the country priorities and strategies. Interventions are designed to be aligned with and complimentary to the Government Quinquennial Programme 2015-2019, the Multisectoral Action Plan for the Reduction of Chronic Undernutrition 2011-2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Building favourable conditions for nutrition and changing market incentives, rules and regulations that encourage the production and consumption of nutritious and safe food is one of GAIN’s priorities to improve diets and advance nutrition status for all.