AfDB considering funding for food security in PH, Asia-Pacific
MANILA, Philippines—The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a loan to the Philippines and other member countries to maintain stable food supplies and prices amid looming food insecurity caused by the continued destruction of the Ukraine by Vladimir Putin and the prolonged COVID pandemic.
“Since the Russian war on Ukraine, global commodity prices and market uncertainty have increased dramatically, creating significant food and nutrition security risks in addition to pre-existing vulnerabilities in many countries,” they said. declared seven international financial institutions in a joint action plan to address food insecurity made public on May 18.
“Some countries are now facing physical food shortages, and many others are experiencing rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices. More people are going hungry and food insecure, and more people are at risk of falling into poverty,” the document states.
“Rising food prices add to global inflationary pressures, stretch household spending and shrink fiscal space in government budgets, and come at a time when fiscal space is already tight and debt vulnerabilities are high. high,” he said.
“This latest global shock exacerbates the sharp increase in acute and chronic food insecurity in recent years due to conflict, climate change and economic downturns, such as those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “
“International financial institutions must come together to respond quickly to these challenges,” said the seven multilateral donors, including the AfDB, the African Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD ), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
In the case of the AfDB, the action plan states that it “will realign existing projects to support the current needs of developing member countries in the development of agricultural value chains and the improvement of agricultural competitiveness in and beyond the region”. Among the AfDB projects in the pipeline included in this realignment was the upcoming $100.4 million loan for its host country, the Mindanao Agribusiness Development Project in the Philippines.
According to AfDB documents, this project “will support the government of the Philippines to improve agricultural diversification and food value chain development in Mindanao by promoting private investment in agribusiness; improve agricultural logistics and services; and improve product quality and competitiveness.
In addition to the upcoming realigned loans for the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos, the AfDB will also provide direct agribusiness loans for working capital and staple food cash targeting nearly 300,000 smallholder farmers in 15 developing member countries with significant food security needs.
In the amount of $420 million, this direct agribusiness loan support will be made available to the Philippines, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
In addition, the AfDB said it has earmarked $110 million this year to support financial institutions to in turn lend to around 30,000 agricultural and food micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) borrowers in Philippines, Cambodia, Georgia and India. , Nepal, Pakistan, as well as Uzbekistan.
This was in addition to joint AfDB and UN World Food Program projects in the Philippines and Afghanistan launched this year, which would be extended to Myanmar and other Asia-Pacific countries.
For its part, the World Bank Group stated that “new operations related to food security are being prepared in all regions, notably in Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Lebanon, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Albania. , Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.
In total, the Washington-based World Bank said in a separate statement that up to $30 billion in financing will be injected into agriculture, irrigation, nutrition, social protection, as well as development projects. existing and new, to fund “efforts to encourage food and fertilizer production, improve food systems, facilitate trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.
“Rising food prices have devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable. To inform and stabilize markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now on future production increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said the World Bank Group President. , David Malpass.
“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,” Malpass added.
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