$30 billion available to implement to tackle food insecurity over the next 15 months
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2022 –The World Bank today announced actions it plans to take as part of a comprehensive global response to the ongoing food security crisis, with up to $30 billion in existing and new projects in areas such as agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water and irrigation. This funding will include efforts to encourage food and fertilizer production, strengthen food systems, facilitate increased trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.
“Food price increases have devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable,” She said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “To inform and stabilize markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now about increased production in the future in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase energy and fertilizer supplies, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, convert food to biofuels, or encourage non-essential storage.”
The World Bank is working with countries to prepare $12 billion in new projects for the next 15 months to respond to the food security crisis. These projects are expected to support agriculture and social protection to mitigate the effects of rising food prices, and water and irrigation projects, with the majority of resources directed to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South Asia. In addition, the World Bank’s current portfolio includes $18.7 billion in unpaid balances in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, spanning agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors. Altogether, this could amount to more than $30 billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will be based on the full range of the Bank’s financing instruments and will be complemented by analytical work.
The World Bank Group’s global response will address four priorities:
- Production support and producers: Take action to boost next season’s production by removing trade barriers to inputs, focusing on more efficient use of fertilizers, and reorienting public policies and expenditures to better support farmers and outputs.
- Facilitate increased trade: Building an international consensus (G7, G20, etc.) and a commitment to avoid export restrictions that increase world food prices and import restrictions that discourage production in developing countries.
- Supporting Vulnerable FamiliesExpand targeted and nutrition-sensitive social protection programs and renew early response financing mechanisms.
- Investing in sustainable food and nutrition security: Strengthening food systems to make them more resilient in the face of increased risks (conflict, climate, pests, diseases), trade disruptions and economic shocks – balance immediate/short-term needs with long-term investments.
The World Bank gained extensive experience responding to the 2007-2008 global food price crisis through the Interim Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP), which received contributions from donors and directed funds to 49 affected countries through 100 projects. Since then, the Bank has created new tools dedicated to responding to food security crises, including the IDA Crisis Response Window. The World Bank also hosts the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), an existing financial intermediary fund dedicated to improving food security in low-income countries that can be replenished to help finance the response to the current global food crisis.