- World Bank has announced a US $1.2bn to respond to current food price hike that has left over a billion people in need of food.
Of the pledge support, US $ 200 million grants have been set aside for countries at risk of acute malnutrition and starvation. Among the priority countries, Haiti and Liberia will get $10m each to feed their most vulnerable people while Djibouti will receive $5m.
World Bank has in its plans to extend the grant support to Togo, Yemen and Tajikistan, which were also identified as high priority countries, after a needs-assessment was carried out.
World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, has said the initiative will address immediate danger of hunger and malnutrition for two billion people struggling to survive in the face of hiking food prices while at the same time, will contribute to longer term solutions which require multi-stakeholders input.
The bank said it also aims to increase support for agriculture and food security by complementing selected country’s efforts in providing risk management tools to those faced with severe drought and other catastrophes while also ensuring rapid delivery of seeds and fertilizers for the next cropping season.
“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 Mr Zoellick.
Under the crop and livestock insurance 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. For instance, under the new arrangement, should Malawi suffer a drought, then it would be protected against a rise in the price of imported maize.
The increasing food prices have sparked violence in many Africa countries since the beginning of the year, with several African countries seeking both technical and financial support from international agencies and donors.
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