Guinea-Bissau's few hotels and restaurants offer excellent food, though some places are expensive. The food in Guinea-Bissau is African in nature but has been influenced by the Portuguese. Rice is a staple near the coast and in the interior staples are cassava, yams and maize. Generally the seafood is very good. Cashew nuts are abundant and grown for export.

Poor educational attainment has been a significant barrier to economic development at local and national levels. Decades of political turmoil have caused chronic underinvestment in schools, leading to a severe shortage of teachers and resources.

As of July 2015, the Guinea-Bissau Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System data showed that, overall, 11 percent of the households of the Guinea-Bissau are food insecure. However, this figure varies across regions: in some areas, up to 51 percent of families are affected.

The most important tip I can give you on Guinea-Bissau  local food, and the only one that will make you elevate from being a tourist to becoming a real traveler immersed in the local culture, is “Stay away from McDonalds“. When visiting Guinea-Bissau, there is awesome local food to try. Head to the local eateries too, and go where the locals go. For me, the food, wine and and even the water is part of the travel experience.

In 2015, the cashew harvest, by then accounting for 85 percent of exports, fared better due to higher production and international demand, bringing some relief to those whose income is so precarious due to reliance on this single crop.

It’s not just the season to be jolly but also the perfect time to go travelling. From the North Pole right down to the South, we’ve got six festive ideas for the dream December getaway.

Guinea-Bissau doesn’t have a legal drinking/purchasing age. Warga (strong sweet green tea) The people of Guinea-Bissau love to drink a sweet green tea known as “warga”, the non-muslims also enjoy drinking cashew wine or palm wine. There are also possibilities to buy Portuguese beer, wine and soft drinks but these are more expensive. It is recommended that foreigners only drink bottled, filtered or boiled water

Elections in 2014 restored democracy. Political deadlock between the President and Prime Minister led to the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Government in October 2015.

Undernutrition is a major public health challenge in Guinea-Bissau, and is due mainly to food insecurity, inadequate health services, poor water and sanitation, poor infant and young child feeding practices, and high illiteracy rates among women. According to the 2014 Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 5), countrywide the chronic malnutrition rate is over 25 percent.

Since 1 April 2016, WFP has been implementing the first Country Programme in Guinea-Bissau, which has three components: Health and Nutrition, School Feeding and Rural Development. Through technical assistance to strengthen Government capacity and ownership, the Country Programme aims to reduce undernutrition, increase access to education at national, regional and community levels, and improve national capacity to monitor food security. 

WFP provides over 173,000 hot meals to school children, aiming to incentivize school enrolment and attendance. Take-home food rations for female students encourage girls to attend and remain in school. WFP is also working to strengthen the Government’s capacity to manage the school meals programme, facilitating the transition towards national ownership.

WFP, in partnership with the Government and local NGOs, aims to protect livelihoods of food-insecure households, building resilience to shocks and improving access to basic social services and markets in rural communities.

Other local foods, or drinks that you recommend? Please add and comment.

Guinea-Bissau’s population is subject to the combined effects of several problems. At present, these are:

WFP cannot fight global hunger and poverty alone. These are our partners in Guinea-Bissau:

WFP provides nutrition support (food by prescription) to 6,500 people living with HIV who are receiving ART and people with tuberculosis under DOTS treatment. This improves their general health, and helps ameliorate some of the adverse effects of the drugs used for these diseases, improving treatment adherence. Their food insecure family members are also supported in order to offset some of the impact of the illnesses on their household income and nutrition.  

Vegetables sold in the markets include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, parsley, okra, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, chili, sweet potatoes. Street snacks are typically sandwiches with hardboiled egg, omelete, fish or beef – or donuts, cake or hardboiled eggs. Frozen juice in small plastic bags is popular among locals.

The incidence of poverty in Guinea-Bissau increased from 65 percent of the population in 2002 to 75 percent in 2013.  This has since improved slightly to 69.3 percent. Infant mortality is high (77.9 per 1,000 births), as is maternal mortality (560 per 100,000 live births – the 11th highest of 184 countries for which data are available).

More generally, we aim to reduce malnutrition among children under five, and pregnant and lactating women. In three priority regions, we are working to prevent chronic malnutrition in children under two. We are also strengthening national and local capacity to implement nutrition programmes.

With the new Country Programme, 96,000 Bissau-Guineans will benefit from WFP’s Food for Asset activities. During 2015 the project provided food assistance, technical expertise and non-food items to small landholders. In exchange they worked to construct feeder roads and build infrastructure for rice production. The project ended in August but will be restarted in April 2016. 

Guinea-Bissau’s population numbers 1.8 million, just over half of whom live in rural areas. Almost 85 percent of the population depend on agriculture as their main source of income. According to UNDP’s 2015 Human Development Index, Guinea-Bissau ranks 178th out of 188 countries.

Although the average literacy rate among over-fifteen-year-olds has improved since 1979 when it was 20 percent, at 59.9 percent it remains low. Furthermore, there is a significant literacy gap between genders (males, 71.8 percent; females, 48.3 percent). In the 15-24 age group the gender gap has closed to 7.1 percent, but almost 23 percent of this group remain illiterate. Net enrolment, attendance and completion rates at primary school are extremely low, with disparities among regions.

Over 69 percent of Guinea-Bissau’s population live below the poverty line. Three quarters of those living in extreme poverty are almost entirely dependent on agriculture for sustenance, income and barter. Chronic food insecurity is compounded by shocks related to political instability, irregular rainfall, and volatility of prices for imported rice and local cashew nut production.