ADB to Devote $14 Billion to Help Ease Food Crisis in Asia-Pacific

pacific money | Economy

The Asian Development Bank’s plan calls for improving long-term food security by strengthening agriculture and the food supply to cope with climate change and biodiversity loss.

The Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday it will commit at least $14 billion through 2025 to help ease the worsening food crisis in the Asia-Pacific.

The development lender said it plans a comprehensive support program to help the 1.1 billion people in the region who lack healthy diets due to poverty and rising food prices.

The Manila, Philippines-based ADB made the announcement during its annual meeting.

“This is a timely and urgent response to a crisis that is leaving too many poor families in Asia hungry and in deeper poverty,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

The plan calls for improving long-term food security by strengthening agriculture and the food supply to cope with climate change and biodiversity loss. The ADB said the funds will go to new and existing projects spanning agriculture, food production and distribution, water resource management and social support.

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Asakawa said that in the short term, the support will be targeted and designed to help the most vulnerable, particularly women.

Opening the ADB meeting, Asakawa noted that the economic outlook has worsened with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, rising prices for many commodities, and a tougher economic environment thanks to rising interest rates and weakening currencies for many developing economies.

In a recent update, the bank He lowered his forecast for growth in the region to 4.3 percent from a previous estimate of 5.2 percent. The outlook for next year is for annual growth of 4.9 percent.

Food insecurity threatens to undo decades of progress and has been made worse by conflicts in Ukraine, a key supplier of grain and oil. and fertilizers to many countries in the region.

The situation will worsen as climate change amplifies extreme weather, damaging harvests and prompting migration, Asakawa said.

Last week, the UN food chief warned that the world was facing “a perfect storm on top of a perfect storm,” urging donors, particularly Gulf nations and billionaires, to give a few days of profits to deal with a fertilizer supply crisis to prevent widespread distribution of food. shortage next year.

In just one example, in Pakistan, massive floods this summer wiped out large areas of crops, raising concerns about food shortages.

Even before the floods, some 38 million Pakistanis, more than 16 percent of the population, were living in moderate or severe food insecurity, not knowing if they could get food or sometimes without eating, according to the World Food Organization. Health. Nearly 18 percent of the children were severely malnourished.

Pakistan’s economy was already reeling from mounting debt problems and soaring prices. The hit to food supplies and incomes will plunge those populations further into hunger, UN agencies have warned.

The coronavirus pandemic had already pushed an additional 100 million people into hunger, the ADB estimates. A 10 percent increase in food price inflation could push another 64 million into poverty, she says.

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