International agencies call for urgent aid to address food insecurity

International agencies call for urgent aid to address food insecurity

Major international organizations issued an appeal Wednesday for urgent measures to deal with rising food insecurity in poor countries, including financing to support farmers and increase food supplies.

“It is critical to quickly provide support for food insecure countries in a coordinated manner,” the heads of the IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization and UN World Food Program said in a joint statement.

Protests have erupted in some countries over high prices, and the statement said, “The increase in food prices and supply shocks can fuel social tensions in many of the affected countries, especially those that are already fragile or affected by conflict.”

The organizations called on the international community to provide financing for emergency food supplies, a safety net for poor families and farmers, and to increase agricultural production.
They also called for “open trade” that avoids export restrictions or “humanitarian food purchases.”

While the poor nations are most vulnerable to the crisis, middle income countries increasingly are at risk, the statement said.

“Surging fertilizer prices along with significant cuts in global supplies have important implications for food production in most countries, including major producers and exporters, who rely heavily on fertilizer imports,” they said.

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank President David Malpass, WTO head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and WFP director David Beasley issued the statement before next week’s meeting of the IMF and World Bank.