MANILA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced it plans to provide at least USD 14 billion over 2022-2025 as support to ease a “worsening food crisis” in Asia and the Pacific.
It aims 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 development bank said.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted food staples and fertilizer supplies, straining a global food system already weakened by climate change impacts and pandemic-related supply shocks.
Asia and the Pacific are vulnerable to food shocks, as some of its countries depend on imported staples and fertilizer, the bank said, adding that even before the invasion of Ukraine, nutritious food was unaffordable for significant portions of the population in many low-income member countries.
“This is a timely and urgently needed response to a crisis that is leaving too many poor families in Asia hungry and in deeper poverty,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa, in remarks at ADB’s 55th Annual Meeting, as per a statement.
“We need to act now before the impacts of climate change worsen and further erode the region’s hard-won development gains. Our support will be targeted, integrated, and impactful to help vulnerable people, particularly vulnerable women, in the near-term, while bolstering food systems to reduce the impact of emerging and future food security risks,” Asakawa said.
The announced 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, as well as projects leveraging nature-based solutions.
ADB said it would continue to invest in other activities which contribute to food security such as energy transition, transport, access to rural finance, environmental management, health, and education.
“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,” added Asakawa. (ANI)