Monday September 25, 2023

World Bank to provide additional $12 bn to address ‘devastating’ global food crisis

May 19, 2022

WASHINGTON: The World Bank announced on Wednesday an additional $12 billion in funding to mitigate the "devastating effects" of severe growing global food insecurity driven by climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move, which will bring total available funding for projects over the next 15 months to $30 billion, was unveiled hours before a major United Nations meeting on global food security. Amid the growing shortages intensified by the war in Ukraine, a key grain producer, the new funding will help boost food and fertilizer production, facilitate greater trade and support vulnerable households and producers, the World Bank said.

"Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable," World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement. "It is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine."

The bank previously announced $18.7 billion in funding for projects linked to "food and nutrition security issues" for Africa and the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and international economic sanctions on Moscow have disrupted supplies of fertilizer, wheat and other commodities from both countries, pushing up prices for food and fuel, especially in developing nations.

And India over the weekend banned wheat exports, which sent prices for the grain soaring. "Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage," Malpass said.

Washington welcomed the decision, which is part of a joint action plan by multilateral lenders and regional development banks to address the food crisis. "The Russian war against Ukraine is the latest global shock that is exacerbating the sharp increase in both acute and chronic food insecurity in recent years driven by conflict, climate change and economic downturns, such as those associated with the Covid-19 pandemic," the Treasury Department said, applauding the institutions for working swiftly to address the issues.

The situation will only grow worse because of the Ukrainian war, experts warn, as Russia and Ukraine alone produce 30 percent of the global wheat supply. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due in New York on Wednesday to chair a UN meeting on global food security.