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ADB to tap $14 billion food security fund for assistance to Philippines program

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
ADB to tap $14 billion food security fund for assistance to Philippines program
In a virtual press briefing, ADB director general for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam said a program in the Philippines is expected to be presented to the multilateral development bank’s board for the fund for food security.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is looking to provide assistance to the Philippines under the $14-billion fund being allocated to help address the food crisis in Asia and the Pacific for this year until 2025.

In a virtual press briefing, ADB director general for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam said a program in the Philippines is expected to be presented to the multilateral development bank’s board for the fund for food security.

“The first likely program that will be taken to our board is in the Philippines where it’s called the Competitive Agriculture Reform program that we have started two years ago,” he said.

He said the second phase of the program would be presented to the ADB board later this year.

“It is providing support, building on the Rice Tariffication Act, which was enacted a couple of years ago, as implementation support and particularly looking at how can agriculture productivity in different parts of the Philippines be boosted as a measure of food security,” he said.

Also being considered is a program which seeks to help the country in its climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts approved months ago.

Aside from the Philippines, Subramaniam said the ADB is looking at an agriculture project in Indonesia and a project in Cambodia to boost food security as part of the initiative.

“In terms of priority, from an assessment point of view, we are looking at all countries,” he said.

“In terms of prioritizing investments, what we are doing is basically looking at all the projects that we have in the pipeline and looking at are there food security elements that we can introduce,” he said further.

Last Tuesday, ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa announced the multilateral lender is providing $14 billion to help address the worsening food crisis, as well as strengthen food systems amid the impact of climate change in Asia and the Pacific for this year until 2025.

The funding would be channeled through existing and new projects, which include farm inputs, food production and distribution, social protection, irrigation, and water resources management, as well as projects making use of nature-based solutions.

ADB will also continue to invest in other activities that contribute to food security such as energy transition, transport, access to rural finance, environmental management, health, and education.

Asakawa said there is a need to respond to the crisis with many families in the region going hungry and falling into deeper poverty.

He said factors contributing to the worsening food security crisis include supply chain issues from the pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has pushed food prices to record highs.

Asia and the Pacific is vulnerable to food shocks, with some countries in the region relying on imports of staples and fertilizers.

Even before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, ADB said significant portions of the population in many of its low-income member countries could not afford nutritious food.

ADB

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