The World Bank announces planned actions to respond to the global food crisis

$30 billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2022—The World Bank today announced the actions it plans to take as part of a comprehensive, global response to the current 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, improve food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.

“Rising food prices have devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable,” mentioned World Bank Group President David Malpass. “To inform and stabilize markets, it is essential that countries make clear statements now on future production increases in response to Russia’s 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, divert food to biofuels, or encourage unnecessary 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, social protection to cushion the effects of rising food prices, as well as water supply and irrigation projects, with the majority of resources going to Africa and the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as South Asia. In addition, the World Bank’s existing portfolio includes undisbursed balances of $18.7 billion in projects directly related to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection and other sectors. In total, this would represent more than 30 billion dollars available for the implementation of the fight against food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will be based on all the Bank’s financing instruments and will be supplemented by analytical work.

The World Bank Group’s global response will address four priorities:

  • Support production and producers: Take steps to improve next season’s production by removing barriers to trade in inputs, focusing on more efficient use of fertilizers, and reorienting public policies and spending to better support farmers and production.
  • Facilitate increased trade: Build international consensus (G7, G20, others) and commitment to avoid export restrictions that increase global food prices and import restrictions that discourage production in developing countries.
  • Support vulnerable households: Scale up targeted and nutrition-sensitive social protection programs and replenish rapid response funding mechanisms.
  • Investing in sustainable food and nutrition security: Strengthen food systems to make them more resilient to increasing risks (conflict, climate, pests, diseases), trade disruptions and economic shocks – balancing immediate/short-term needs with long-term investments.

The World Bank has extensive experience in responding to the 2007-2008 global food price crisis through the Temporary Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) which received donor contributions and channeled funds to 49 affected countries through 100 projects. Since then, the Bank has put in place new tools dedicated to responding to food security crises, notably the IDA crisis response window. The World Bank also hosts the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which is an existing financial intermediary fund dedicated to improving food security in low-income countries and which could be replenished to help fund the response to the current global food crisis.

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