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Food Crisis


Food prices have remained high and volatile in the wake of the 2008 food crisis. As a result, millions of people around the world are at risk of hunger and malnutrition.

What the World Bank Is Doing

The World Bank Group is helping countries increase food security through our support for farmers and agriculture, safety nets and nutrition, infrastructure development, and building resilience to climate change.

Agriculture investment is needed to feed a projected global population of 9 billion by 2050.  We expect to increase our support for agriculture from about $7 billion a year in 2010-12, to between $8 billion and $10 billion a year during 2013-15. Our commitments to agriculture and related sectors reached $8 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. In addition, we stand ready to respond to exceptional economic crises or natural disasters through a special lending mechanism in IDA, our fund for the poorest countries.

In 2007 and 2008, large spikes in global food prices kept or pushed an estimated 105 million people into poverty in low-income countries. The Bank Group responded by channeling $1.6 billion through the Global Food Crisis Response Program to fund farming inputs, feeding programs and other safety nets, reaching some 66 million people in 49 countries.

The Bank administers the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, a global partnership that supports country-led agriculture and food security plans and helps promote investments, especially for smallholder farmers.  So far, eight countries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged about $1.3 billion over three years, with $960 million received. Since its launch, the program has awarded $912 million in grants to 25 countries.

The Bank is also working with the World Food Programme to help feed 22 million children in about 60 countries, as well as coordinating efforts with United Nations agencies through the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis and with civil society organizations.

Learn more about Food and Nutrition Security.

(Updated October 7, 2013)