In a bid to improve the resilience of Egypt’s agriculture sector, the World Bank Group (WBG) has agreed to extend a US$500 million loan for the national agriculture system.
According to statement released by the Ministry of International Cooperation, after a period of extensive dialogue and coordination between line ministries and WBG officials, led by the Ministry of International Cooperation, the Emergency Food Security and Resilience Support Project aims to reduce the global impact of the conflict in Ukraine on food and nutrition security in Egypt.
In line with Egypt’s national reforms to reclaim more agricultural land and transform the sector, which is a major driver of the economy and provides livelihoods for 57 per cent of the population, the project will finance the public procurement of imported wheat, equivalent to one month of supply for the Bread Subsidy Program which supports around 70 million low-income Egyptians, including approximately 31 million people under the national poverty line, the statement noted.
The project will also support national efforts to reduce waste and loss in the wheat supply chain through the upgrade and expansion of climate-resilient wheat silos, sustainably improve domestic cereal production, and strengthen Egypt’s preparedness and resilience to future shocks, it revealed.
Since 2014, Egypt has expanded its investments in the national project of silos, which aims to build 50 grains and wheat storage silos across 17 governorates. This national project raised the storage capacity from 1.2 million tonnes to 3.4 million tons over a period between 2014 and 2018.
“This project supports the strong governmental commitment to ensuring that the needs of citizens continue to be met even amid the challenging global context caused by several crises such as COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine,” said Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation.
“In addition to ensuring sustained food security – a vital element to the well-being of citizens – this project supports national climate efforts that also aim to improve the quality of life for Egyptians.”
The new financing supports Egypt by mobilizing immediate short-term relief to address supply and price shocks while simultaneously bolstering Egypt’s longer term food security strategy and improved nutrition for the poor and vulnerable.
“This emergency operation comes at a very critical juncture when the food security of many countries is threatened by the war in Ukraine,” said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for Egypt Yemen and Djibouti. “It is part of broader World Bank efforts to support Egypt’s green, inclusive and resilient recovery. As always we are keen to continuously support Egypt in overcoming obstacles to its ambitious sustainable development plans and to further enable the country to pave the way for a prosperous and productive future for all its citizens.”
Egypt’s hosting of COP27 on behalf of Africa will address the nexus between food security and climate change, and will focus on shifting from pledges to implementation and deploying resources into the most needed areas in the world.
“In light of this, the project incorporates climate change efforts through a variety of interventions, including via investments to modernize wheat silos to significantly reduce wheat waste and loss, as well as introducing farmer extension and training programs that promote climate-smart agricultural practices,” the statement concluded.