Overview

The world needs to produce at least 50% more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050. But climate change could cut crop yields by more than 25%. The land, biodiversity, oceans, forests, and other forms of natural capital are being depleted at unprecedented rates. Unless we change how we grow our food and manage our natural capital, food security—especially for the world’s poorest—will be at risk.

Already, high food prices are the new normal. When faced with high food prices, many poor families cope by pulling their children out of school and eating cheaper, less nutritious food, which can have severe life-long effects on the social, physical, and mental well-being of millions of young people. Malnutrition contributes to infant, child, and maternal illness; decreased learning capacity; lower productivity, and higher mortality. One-third of all child deaths globally are attributed to under-nutrition.

Investment in agriculture and rural development to boost food production and nutrition is a priority for the World Bank Group, which works through several partnerships to improve food security; from encouraging climate-smart farming techniques and restoring degraded farmland to breeding more resilient and nutritious crops to improving storage and supply chains for reducing food losses.

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2015

Increased investment in agriculture: In 2014, new Bank Group commitments to agriculture and related sectors were $8.3 billion.   For IBRD/IDA, assistance to agriculture and related sectors rose to $4.3 billion in FY14, up from $3.6 billion in FY13. At $4.4 billion, the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) investments were at the highest level ever. World Bank IBRD/IDA agricultural assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa was particularly strong, reaching $1.4 billion, a 35 percent increase over FY10-12.

Expedited financial support: In response to the 2008 food crisis, the Bank launched the Global Food Price Crisis Response Program (GFRP) to provide relief to countries hit by high food prices. The GFRP has reached nearly 70 million people in 49 countries—through $1.6 billion in emergency funds for farming, seeds and fertilizer, and emergency school feeding programs.

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) fills financing gaps in national and regional agriculture and food security strategies. Nine countries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged about $1.4 billion over 3 years, with $1.2 billion received. Since May 2010, 25 countries have been allocated $912 million from the public sector financing window of GAFSP. Approximately 13% of total GAFSP funding in 15 GAFSP countries is targeted toward  nutrition related activities.

GAFSP has also committed to 16 investment and 21 advisory services projects that promote food security and rural employment in the poorest countries. Projects include a $10 million loan to help Malawi Mangoes, the country’s first commercial fruit farming enterprise processing company; $4 million to Uganda’s Pearl Dairy to expand milk processing and collection centers using solar energy; and $10 million to help coffee growers expand production capacity in Honduras and Nicaragua.

High level engagement and analysis: The Bank has engaged in policy dialogue with more than 40 countries to help them address the food crises of 2008 and 2010, and continuing volatility of food prices. Instruments include rapid country diagnostics, high-level dialogue, public communications, and in-depth analytical work and monitoring instruments. In the Middle East and North Africa region, the Bank, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), published a paper on “Improving Food Security in Arab Countries." Another paper, "Responding to Higher and More Volatile World Food Prices." summarizes the Bank’s response to food price volatility.

Financial market insurance products and risk management strategies: In developing countries, farmers, agro-enterprises, and governments can employ a range of approaches to mitigate, transfer, and cope with risks. The Bank supports the implementation of agricultural sector and supply chain risk management strategies through technical assistance and training. 

Research to address critical knowledge gaps: The Bank is undertaking a comprehensive analytical program in collaboration with other agencies. The Bank continues its support to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The Bank is also improving global collaboration around knowledge in agriculture, food security, and nutrition, through the SecureNutrition knowledge platform.

Coordinating with development partners on food price volatility: The Bank engages with the United Nations High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on the Global Food Security Crisis. The Bank also contributes to agriculture and food security recommendations for the G20, and is implementing G20 initiatives to address food price volatility, including the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), launched to improve agricultural market transparency. The Bank Group has just launched a Food Price Crisis Observatory that monitors global vulnerabilities to food crises, their sociopolitical consequences and public interventions to prevent, cope with and mitigate food price crises. 

 

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2015

 

Resources made available through the Global Food Price Crisis Response Program are having a significant impact on the ground. In Niger, rice yields in irrigated plots treated with the recommended dose of fertilizers exceeded the baseline average per hectare (ha) by 116% (5.4 tons/ha versus 2.5 tons/ha), which helped to benefit 33 rice producer cooperatives covering 20,784 farmers. In Nicaragua, school lunches for 609,000 pre-school and primary school children led to higher retention rates in targeted areas.

GAFSP funding in Bangladesh has trained 472 community facilitators and field assistants, who are now working to promote basic nutrition messages in the field.  In Rwanda, over 12,000 kitchen gardens have been constructed and new high yielding and high nutrition crops were introduced including potatoes, and zinc and iron fortified climbing beans.

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2015

The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is an inter-Agency platform that seeks to enhance food market transparency and encourage coordination of policy action in response to market uncertainty. It assembles food balance data, monitors trends, provides market analysis, builds capacity in participating countries, and facilitates information among policy makers. 

CGIAR Global Agricultural Research advances cutting-edge science to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve human health and nutrition, and ensure the sustainable management of natural resources. 

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) finances investments that increase incomes and improve food and nutrition security in developing countries. 

SecureNutrition is a knowledge platform that links Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition. 

The Global Program on Fisheries (PROFISH) was established with key donors and stakeholders to engage the World Bank in improving environmental sustainability, human wellbeing and economic performance in the world’s fisheries and aquaculture, with a focus on the welfare of the poor in fisheries and fish farming communities in the developing world.

 

 

 

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2015

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