Offshore Capitalist

World Bank, Donors Take Long-Term View on Food Security

April 22, 2010-Across the globe, more than 1 billion people go to bed hungry each night—a number exacerbated by the 2007-08 food price crisis.

While the global price spike is abating, grain stocks remain low and food prices are forecast to be, on average, 10-20% higher through 2018, compared to the 1997 – 2006 average. Food price volatility?impacted by volatile fuel prices?continues to hurt farmers in food-insecure nations, who are often ill-equipped to manage their crops against market uncertainty.

Against this background, the World Bank Group is set to become trustee of a new fund aimed at reducing global hunger and poverty by focusing on food security and agriculture.

The United States, Canada, Spain, the Republic of Korea and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will together provide about $900 million in support to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). The World Bank will serve as trustee and host of a coordination unit for the fund, and if requested, as a supervising entity.

The origins of the new fund stem from the G8-plus meeting in L’Aquila in July 2009, Italy, in which leaders pledged more than $20 billion to boost food security and agriculture.

Leaders at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in September 2009 then called on the World Bank to “work with interested donors and organizations to develop a multilateral trust fund to scale up agricultural assistance to low income countries.” The GAFSP will handle some of the funds originally pledged in L’Aquila.

The fund’s aim is to put developing countries in the driver’s seat so they can have funds to boost agricultural production and productivity and provide food security for their peoples. The scope of GAFSP will include doing more to connect farmers to markets, reduce risks and vulnerability to income shocks and weather events,    improve off-farm livelihoods for people in rural areas, and provide technical assistance to help governments deal with food insecurity.

“With a sixth of the world’s people going hungry every day, the crisis in food remains very real, posing a severe economic burden on developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa,” said World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick. “Cooperation and coordination are vital to boost agricultural productivity and connect farmers to markets, as agriculture is the main lifeline today for about 75 percent of the world’s poor.”

A key focus is support to rural areas in poor developing countries –rural people make up 75 percent of the world’s poor – and are largely reliant on agriculture for their livelihoods. Women will also be a key focus, given the strong role of women on the land and as primary caretakers of families.

The fund will have two major components – one for countries and the other aimed at increasing private investment in agriculture -  to boost food security.

“What poor people need most is jobs and agriculture is the fastest way to create private sector jobs and raise people’s incomes.” said World Bank Group Managing Director, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “This is particularly true for women and girls. But for this to be sustainable, we also need to help link farmers to global supply chains.”

The move to set up the new fund – with money from donor countries and private foundations- comes at a time when households in crisis-affected countries face tough choices. Many have reduced their current levels of food consumption, shifted to lower quality and less expensive foods, or deferred critical expenditures on health and education. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, an additional $14 billion in agricultural investment per year will be needed in developing countries to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and hunger by 2015.

via News & Broadcast – Bank, Donors Take Long-Term View on Food Security.

Related posts:

  1. Food Experts Worry as World Population and Hunger Grow
  2. Global recovery threatens food price surge
  3. Economic crisis exposes fragile global food system, new UN report says
  4. Nestlé chief hits at ‘well-fed activists’
  5. FAO: Increased investment in agricultural research essential
  6. World Bank Provides US$4.3 Billion to Support India’s Economic Stimulus, Infrastructure Investments
  7. Excerpts from a speech by World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick
  8. Chinese Demand Impact On Agri-Food Prices
  9. Global recovery faces ’serious hurdles’ next year – World Bank
  10. Near term correction possible, but emerging market investors need a longer term view
  11. An ETF to track global agribusiness – Powershares Global Agriculture (PSGA)
  12. A fund to invest in a basic human need: Food
  13. China Bank Regulator Said to Plan Study of Developers
  14. WORLD’S 50 SAFEST BANKS 2009
  15. Industrialization will help Africa fully join world economy, says Ban
  • Welcome to Offshore Capitalist

    Do dramatic financial headlines every day drive you crazy? Forget them! Drop by Offshore Capitalist every now and then to catch the useful stuff.