World Bank Extends Food Crisis Fund

  •  washington
  • Inter Press Service

In announcing the programme's extension, World Bank President Robert Zoellick cited 'growing concern among countries about continuing volatility and uncertainty in food markets'. The programme, equipped with a wide array of options for food crisis response, is expected to enable the World Bank to respond more quickly if countries are facing dangerous prices spikes.

'World food price volatility remains significant and, in some countries, the volatility is adding to already higher local food prices due to other factors such as adverse weather,' Zoellick said. The Bank's decision follows a number of disquieting indicators that food prices could reach the dangerous levels of 2007 to 2008, when riots broke out in several hunger- stricken countries and the number of people suffering from hunger reached record highs.

'We do expect high volatility in food prices to continue until at least 2015, so reactivating the Bank's food crisis fund means we're ready to help countries calling for assistance,' said World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala. The GFRP was originally launched in May 2008 and, to date, has conducted 1.2 billion dollars worth of assistance operations, reaching 35 countries, especially in the most affected regions in Africa and Asia, according to the Bank. It says that external donors have also funded an additional 200 million dollars of operations.

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