World Bank Provides $45bn To Tackle Global Food Crisis

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The World Bank Group said it provided $45 billion comprising $22 billion in new lending and $23 billion from its existing portfolio to scale up its food and nutrition security purpose in its latest response to the global food security crisis.

The new facility according to the Bank’s latest Food Security Update report released on Tuesday, includes both short-term interventions such as expanding social protection, and also long-term resilience such as boosting productivity and climate-smart agriculture. It is expected to benefit 335 million people, equivalent to 44 percent of the number of undernourished people.

The bank’s latest intervention for the food and nutrition security portfolio which spans across 90 countries is informed by confirmation that inflation in food prices remains high globally.

Around 53 percent of the beneficiaries were women who were disproportionately more affected by the crisis.

”Some examples include the $766 million West Africa Food Systems Resilience Programme, which aimed to increase preparedness against food insecurity and improve the resilience of food systems in West Africa”, according to the Update which stated that there was an additional $345 million commitment currently under preparation for Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The World Bank declared that food inflation is over five percent in 63.2 per cent of low-income countries, which was 1.3 percentage points higher than in the last food update on Jan. 17, 2023.

The Bretton Wood Institution in the Tuesday report also noted that the inflation level was greater than five percent in 73.9 percent of lower-middle-income countries and 48 percent of upper-middle-income countries which recorded no percentage change from the last update.

The bank whose available data on food prices has confirmed looming food insecurity also noted that in high-income countries, the food inflation level was also higher than five percent in 44.4 percent of countries, which was 1.9 percentage points lower than in the last food update.

In total, the report said that in real terms, food price inflation exceeded overall inflation in 71 percent of the 165 countries where data was available.

The report citing the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), noted that the recent attacks by Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea have triggered a 40 percent decrease in trade volumes in the Suez Canal, which is decreasing global food security, emphasising the critical problem of food insecurity within the context of various challenges.

“In 2023, food prices, a significant component of the agricultural price index, declined by nine percent because supplies of major crops were ample, except for rice, which declined by 27 percent.

“Food prices are expected to decline further in 2024 and 2025, although potential risks such as energy cost increases, adverse weather events, trade restrictions, and geopolitical uncertainty could affect them.”

The report said that a blog post from the World Bank’s Agriculture and Food Global Practice discussed the urgent need for circular food systems to address environmental challenges.

Circular food systems, which emphasise reduce-reuse-recycle-remove approaches, are proposed as a way to build profitable, sustainable, low-emission food systems.