Food Coalition

Revised humanitarian response Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

As a result of the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), more than 5 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2014, of whom about 897 000 have applied for asylum globally, and by the end of 2020 an estimated 6.5 million will have left the country.

The country’s capacity to import has deteriorated due to the continued depreciation of the local currency and the dwindling level of foreign exchange reserves, following the decline in oil revenues and the imposition of international sanctions. After seven years of economic crisis, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) is facing increased difficulties – fuel shortages have become so severe that farmers encounter difficulties in using their machineries to prepare land, plant, reach their workplace and markets and engage in agricultural activities, and for transportation, with cereal production expected to decline this year. In addition, logistical constraints linked to the effects of the pandemic are expected to adversely affect food access among urban and peri-urban communities. The Government has thus launched production plans and financial assistance to boost agricultural production, especially of cereals, and strengthen the public food distribution system.

The urgent and essential restrictions put in place by the Government in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic have affected logistics and agricultural activities across the country. The plummeting prices of oil amid the COVID-19 outbreak have FAO reduced export earnings, worsening the country’s capacity to import. The combined effects of fuel shortages and containment measures has disrupted food production and local food supply chains.

Thousands of Venezuelan migrants returned to the country, following limited job opportunities due to the effects of essential COVID-19 related containment measures in neighbouring countries. Most returnees may struggle with finding employment thereby exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in the country, triggering increased levels of food insecurity.

Taking into account the significant amount of wheat and flour imported by the country (2.6 million tonnes in 2019), the prolonged closure of borders linked to COVID-19 restrictions will limit the availability of these items. Furthermore, the decline in households’ purchasing power (due to substantial depreciation of the national currency), loss of sources of income and increased food prices are negatively affecting access to food among the most vulnerable households.

Although school feeding programmes remained operational, essential measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as the closure of schools has affected children’s access to not only education but also school meals, an important source of food and nutrition. Following previous multiple interruptions to the education system due to the political crisis, the prolonged closure of schools will negatively affect both learning and children’s nutrition.

Priority Areas of work: Global Humanitarian Response Plan
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Level: Country
Country: Venezuela
Budget: USD 30 million

Action Sheet:  Ven_cb0195en.pdf

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