World Bank announces additional $12 bn to fight food insecurity

World Bank announces additional $12 bn to fight food insecurity

The World Bank announced on Wednesday an additional $12 billion in funding to mitigate the effects of a growing global food insecurity caused 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 UN meeting on global food security.

The World Bank said that the new funding will help boost food and fertilizer production, promote trade and support vulnerable households and producers despite the growing shortages in Ukraine, a key grain producer.

World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement that food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.

It is critical that countries make clear statements about future output increases in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The bank previously announced $18.7 billion in funding for projects related 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 slowed supply of fertilizer, wheat and other commodities from both countries, leading to higher prices for food and fuel, especially in developing nations.

India banned wheat exports over the weekend, which caused prices for the grain to go up.

Countries should work to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel or encourage unnecessary storage, as well as remove food from exports and imports, 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 has been exacerbated by the rise in both acute and chronic food insecurity in recent years, driven by conflicts, climate change and economic downturns, such as those associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and applauding the institutions for working swiftly to address the issues, according to the Treasury Department.

Russia and Ukraine alone produce 30 percent of the world's wheat supply because of the Ukrainian war, experts warn.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to chair a UN meeting on global food security in New York on Wednesday.

Vellamvelly Muraleedharan, India's minister of state for external affairs, is expected to participate in the meeting.

Washington's UN ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, urged New Delhi to revoke the ban announced Saturday in the wake of a falling production caused by an extreme heatwave.

She said Wednesday's session aims to bring together countries to look at what countries might be able to help fill the gap in wheat supplies caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Food insecurity had begun to spike before Moscow invaded its neighbor on February 24.

UN data showed that 193 million people in 53 countries were acutely food insecure last year, so they needed urgent assistance to survive.