ADB commits $14 billion to alleviate Asia-Pacific food crisis – The Diplomat

Pacific money | Business

The Asian Development Bank’s plan aims to improve long-term food security by strengthening agriculture and food supplies to cope with climate change and biodiversity loss.

The Asian Development Bank announced on Tuesday that it will provide at least $14 billion through 2025 to help alleviate a deepening food crisis in Asia-Pacific.

The development lender said it was planning a comprehensive assistance program to help the region’s 1.1 billion people who are left without 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 much-needed response to a crisis that is starving too many poor families in Asia and plunging them into deeper poverty,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

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

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Asakawa said that in the short term, support will target and be targeted at the most vulnerable, particularly women.

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

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

Food insecurity threatens to erode decades of gains and has worsened with the dispute in Ukraine, a major supplier of grain and oil. and fertilizer to many countries in the region.

The situation will worsen as climate change amplifies extreme weather, impacts crops and triggers migration, Asakawa noted.

Last week, the UN food chief warned the world of “a perfect storm upon a perfect storm,” urging donors, particularly Gulf states and billionaires, to give a few days of profit to deal with a fertilizer supply crisis, a widespread one Nutrition to prevent deficiency next year.

Just one example: Massive flooding in Pakistan this summer wiped out large crops, raising concerns about food shortages.

Even before the floods, about 38 million Pakistanis, more than 16 percent of the population, were moderately or severely food insecure, unsure whether they could obtain food or temporarily without food, according to the World Health Organization. Almost 18 percent of the children were acutely malnourished.

The Pakistani economy was already suffering from increasing debt problems and rising prices. The hit to food supplies and income will push this population even deeper into hunger, UN agencies have warned.

The ADB estimates that the coronavirus pandemic has already driven 100 million more people to starvation. A 10 percent rise in food price inflation could push another 64 million into poverty, it says.