Global Food Crisis: The World Bank announced on Thursday that it would support global efforts to overcome the global food crisis with a new $1.2 billion rapid financing facility to address immediate needs, including $200 million in grants targeted at the vulnerable in the world's poorest countries.
Announcing several measures to address immediate to longer-term food challenges, the World Bank said it would boost its overall support for global agriculture and food to $6 billion next year up from $4 billion, and would launch risk management tools, and crop insurance to protect poor countries and small-holders.
“As we go into the
Rome meeting next week, it is crucial that we focus on specific action. Along with our partners, these initiatives will help address the immediate danger of hunger and malnutrition for the two billion people struggling to survive in the face of rising food prices, and contribute to a longer-term solution that must involve many countries and institutions,”said World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick.
Djibouti ($5 million),
Haiti ($10 million), and
Liberia ($10 million) were approved on Thursday. Over the coming month, the World Bank expects to provide grant support to
Tajikistan. These countries have been identified as high priority based on rapid needs assessments undertaken in the field with the World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Rapid needs assessments have now been completed in more than 25 countries, with another 15 ongoing.
The $1.2 billion facility, which is designed to address immediate needs, supports safety net programs such as food for work, conditional cash transfers, and school feeding programs for the mostvulnerable. It provides support for food production – this year and beyond - by supplying seeds and fertilizer, improving irrigation for small-scale farmers, and providing budget support to offset tariff reductions for food and other unexpected costs.
As part of the new facility the World Bank is also establishing a Multi-Donor Trust Fund to facilitate policy and operational co-ordination among donors, and leverage financial support for the rapid delivery of seeds and fertilizer to small farmers for the upcoming planting season.
The new rapid response facility stands alongside other efforts by the World Bank to address the global food crisis. The World Bank Board of Executive Directors is considering initiatives to provide risk management tools to poor countries faced by drought and other catastrophes.
“We’re working with our Board to deploy index-related hedges and insurance products to protect poor farmers and countries from weather and supply shocks,” said Zoellick.
Under a proposal being discussed by the Bank’s Board in June,
Malawi could be the first of several countries to use the World Bank as an intermediary to access weather derivatives. Should
Malawi suffer a drought, then it would be protected against a rise in the price of imported maize. IFC, the World Bank Group member that promotes private sector investment, is proposing to support crop and livestock insurance for small-holders in developing countries.
World Bank Food Price Crisis Page
Writing in the Financial Times today, World Bank President Robert Zoellick puts forward a 10-point plan for the Food Crisis Summit to be held in Rome next week:
First, we should agree in Rome to fund fully the World Food Programme’s emergency needs, support its drive to purchase food aid locally and ensure the unhampered movement of humanitarian assistance.
Second, we need support for safety nets, such as distributing food in schools or offering food in return for work, so that we can quickly help those in severe distress.
Third, we need seeds and fertiliser for the planting season, especially for smallholders in poor countries.
Fourth, we need to boost agricultural supply and increase research spending, reversing years of agricultural underinvestment.
Fifth, there needs to be more investment in agribusiness so that we can tap the private sector’s ability to work across the value chain: developing sustainable lands and water; supply chains; cutting wastage; infrastructure and logistics; helping developing country producers meet food safety standards; connecting retailers with farmers in developing countries; and supporting agricultural trade finance.
Sixth, we need to develop innovative instruments for risk management and crop insurance for small farmers.
Seventh, we need action in the US and Europe to ease subsidies, mandates and tariffs on biofuels that are derived from corn and oilseeds.
Eighth, we should remove export bans that have led to even higher world prices. India has recently relaxed its restrictions.
Ninth,we should conclude a Doha World Trade Organisation deal in order to remove the distortions of agricultural subsidies and create a more adaptable, efficient and fair global food trade.
Tenth, there should be greater collective action to counter global risks. The interconnected challenges of energy, food and water will be drivers of the world economy and security.