Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday announced plans to provide at least $14 billion over 2022 to 2025 to ease a worsening food crisis in Asia and the Pacific.
The fund will also be used to improve long-term food security by strengthening food systems against the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Nearly 1.1 billion people in the region lack healthy diets due to poverty and food prices, which have soared to record highs this year, the Manila-based lender said in a statement.
The funding will be channelled through existing and new projects in sectors, including farm inputs, food production and distribution, social protection, irrigation and water resources management and in projects leveraging nature-based solutions.
The ADB will continue to invest in other activities that contribute to food security such as energy transition, transport, access to rural finance, environmental management, health and education.
The fund will also be used to improve long-term food security by strengthening food systems against the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss
“Our support will be targeted, integrated, and impactful to help vulnerable people, particularly vulnerable women, in the near-term,” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa remarked at the ADB’s 55th annual meeting.
The Russian-Ukraine war disrupted supplies of food staples and fertiliser, straining a global food system already weakened by climate change impacts, pandemic-related supply shocks, and unsustainable farming practices.
The Asia and the Pacific are vulnerable to food shocks, as some of its countries depend on imported food staples and fertiliser.
Even before the war, nutritious food was unaffordable for significant portions of the population in many low-income member countries.
The ADB’s food security assistance will promote open trade, improve smallholder farm production and livelihoods and ease shortages of fertiliser and promote its efficient use or organic alternatives.
It will also support investments in food production and distribution, enhance nutrition, and boost climate resilience through integrated and nature-based solutions.
A key focus will be to protect the region’s natural environment from climate change impacts and biodiversity loss, which have degraded soils, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, said the press release.
“An important part of our long-term approach is to safeguard natural resources and support farmers and agribusinesses which produce and distribute much of the region’s food, and to promote open trade to ensure it reaches consumers efficiently,” said Asakawa.
The assistance will be drawn from across the ADB’s sovereign and private sector operations, and seek to leverage an additional $5 billion in private sector co-financing for food security.