Kenya to benefit from World Bank’s Ksh.3.4 trillion funding to tackle food shortage

Kenya will benefit from World Bank’s Ksh.3.4 trillion financing kitty that has been set aside to address food insecurity globally.

It is part of the multilateral lender’s comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.

The financing will be focused on areas of agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water and irrigation insecurity over the next 15 months.

It will include efforts to encourage food and fertilizer production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.

“Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 688 million people were hungry in 2019, compared to 624 million in 2014.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened food insecurity by disrupting supply chains. Together with currency depreciation and other factors, this in turn has driven up the prices of staples such as wheat and maize.

Global agricultural commodity prices are 40 percent higher now than in January 2020.

To this end, the World Bank has asked countries to make clear statements now of future output increases in response to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Ksh.3.4 trillion kitty will address four priorities which include supporting production and producers, facilitate increased trade,  support vulnerable households and invest in sustainable food and nutrition security.

Malpass has urged countries to make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and “remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva said the Russia-Ukraine war has led to food shortages and sharply higher prices, urging the international community to take fast, well-coordinated actions to tackle food crisis.

“These pressures occur at a time when countries’ public finances are already stretched from the pandemic and debt burdens are high,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

“With inflation reaching the highest levels seen in decades, vulnerable households in low- and middle-income countries are most at risk of acute food insecurity,” she continued, adding that hunger often triggers social unrest and violence.

“if we have learned one lesson from the 2007-08 food crisis, it is that the international community needs to take fast and well-coordinated actions to tackle a food crisis by maintaining open trade, support vulnerable households, ensure sufficient agricultural supply, and address financing pressures,” said Georgieva.

The IMF chief made the statement as the IMF and several other international financial institutions, including the World Bank, released a joint action plan to address food security.

According to the newly released plan, the international financial institutions will pursue actions to step up, surge, and scale their work across six priority goals: support vulnerable people, promote open trade, mitigate fertilizer shortages, support food production, invest in climate-resilient agriculture for the future and coordinate for maximum impact.

Lawrence Baraza

Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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