The World Bank warns that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the international community food security of millions will be adversely affected.
According to the bank in a recent report, the COVID-19 crisis is fueling the rise in food prices for the world’s poorest and called on the international community to take action in 2021 to increase food security.
It said, “Early in the pandemic when perceived shortages and panic generated threats of export bans, the international community helped keep food trade flows open.
“We need to remain vigilant and avoid backsliding into export restrictions and hardened borders that make food – and other essentials – scarce or more costly.”
The global financial institution also urged the international community to prioritise bolstering social safety nets, explaining that short-term social safety nets offer a vital cushion for families hit by the health and economic crises.
It noted, “The world has mounted an unprecedented social protection response to COVID-19. Cash transfers are now reaching 1.1bn people, and innovative delivery mechanisms are rapidly identifying and reaching new groups, such as informal urban workers.”
Further, the bank said, “In a review of COVID-19 social response programmes, cash transfer programmes were found to be short-term in their duration – lasting just over three months on average; small in value – an average of $6 (£4.30) per capita in low-income countries; and limited in scope – with many in need remaining uncovered.
“The pandemic has reinforced the vital imperative of increasing the world’s investments in social protection systems. Additional measures to expedite cash transfers, particularly via digital means, would also play an important role in reducing malnutrition.”
Also, the bank advised that priority be placed on enhancing prevention and preparedness, noting that the world’s food systems endured numerous shocks in 2020, from economic impacts on producers and consumers to desert locust swarms and erratic weather.
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