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Agriculture and Rural Development

Food prices and food security underlying concerns at the Meetings

Fionna Douglas's picture

Higher food prices are again a concern as the World Bank and IMF head into their Annual Meetings. In the last several months, volatility in the price of wheat has been reminiscent of the kinds of market movements that occurred during the food price crisis of 2008. While that volatility has decreased somewhat, the World Bank Group is asking the World Bank Board of Directors to reinstate its food crisis emergency fund – the Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP)--so the Bank can be ready to respond quickly again if needed.  The $2 billion program provided support for policy change, social safety nets and agricultural inputs to boost food production in hard-hit countries.

The longer term worry, of course, is food security, especially in light of a continued higher food prices, underinvestment in agriculture in the last decade, and changing weather patterns related to climate change. The Bank Group increased agricultural assistance last year to $6 billion, and will likely keep lending in the $6 billion to $8 billion range for the next several years, as recommended by our Agriculture Action Plan (pdf) for fiscal years 2010 to 2012. The plan calls for increased investments in agricultural productivity, especially in areas of Africa where the land is suitable and farmers currently struggle to make a living.

Sanumaya’s Tale

Sabina Panth's picture

Sanumaya lives with her five children and frailing mother-in-law in a rural village in Nepal.  Her husband, Gopal has left for United Arab Emirates as a labor migrant.  Last year, the hybrid seeds sold in the local market had led to crop failure, bringing the family to near bankruptcy.  To save his family from destitution, Gopal borrowed money from the local businessman and set off overseas.  In the meantime, Sanumaya joined a local women’s savings and credit group, from where she takes out loan money to do animal husbandry.  The meager income Sanumaya earns from her business is barely enough to sustain the family.  Gopal has not sent home any money yet.  He’s probably saving it to repay the local businessman.  Fortunately, the ancestral home that Sanumaya and Gopal inherited has a lush backyard, where Sanumaya grows vegetables and lets her goats roam about freely. She hopes to sell the goats someday and make some money.

The story of the first rose farm in Ethiopia

Hinh T. Dinh's picture


For our research on African competitiveness in light, simple manufactured products , we recently visited the first Ethiopian rose farm, created in 2000. In the course of ten years, the farm triggered the rapid emergence of a competitive rose export industry that now involves more than seventy-five firms, hires more than 50,000 workers and is bringing in more than US $200 million a year.

We learned that the idea to start a rose farm first came to Ryaz’s (Owner of the farm) father, an Indian- origin head of a successful Ugandan conglomerate, after a visit to Ethiopia, where he scoped out potential business opportunities.  Although he considered banking and bottled water, highly favorable soil and climatic conditions (warm days and cold nights), competitive fuel and electricity costs and, above all, competitive air freight costs - which account for more than fifty percent of the export-related production costs - made rose farming an easy choice, despite Ethiopia not having any flower industry to speak of at the time. 

From goals to achievements

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's picture

Almost two thirds of developing countries reached gender parity at the primary school level by 2005. Maternal mortality rates have dropped by a third. As many as 76 developing nations are on track to reach the goal of access to safe drinking water. 

The statistics tell us there is a clear path to achieving the goals.  So in New York, the focus should be on action and the next concrete steps to turning the goals from paper targets to reality. Given a decade has passed, the time for just more talk has also passed. 

World Bank Commits $900 Million to Recovery in Pakistan

South Asia's picture

Pakistan’s deadly floods have affected more than 14 million people, with some estimates putting the figure considerably higher. The affected area covers 132,421 km, including 1.4 million acres of cropped land. Continuing rains have caused additional flooding and hindered relief activities.

Cambodia moves to increase exports of its "white gold" (rice)

Stéphane Guimbert's picture

To a tourist visiting Cambodia, or to a French consumer living in Cambodia (whose food habits require a complement of pasta and potatoes), rice will mainly mean the stunning landscapes of rice fields, yellow at harvest time, bright and liquid during the rainy season, with shades of green meanwhile.

ปลาหมึกพอลพยากรณ์เศรษฐกิจไทย: เคลื่อนไหวด้วยหนวดเส้นเดียว

Frederico Gil Sander's picture


Image courtesy of Caitfoto through a Creative Commons license
(Originally posted in English)

หลังจากที่คณะผู้จัดทำรายงานตามติดเศรษฐกิจไทยของธนาคารโลกได้รับความช่วยเหลือจากทั้งหมอดูลายมือเขมรและหมอดูกระดองเต่าผู้โด่งดัง ให้สามารถจัดทำตัวเลขประมาณการด้านเศรษฐกิจของไทยในปี 2553 ให้เสร็จสมบูรณ์ไปแล้วเมื่อเดือนเมษายนที่ผ่านมา    ทีมงานของเราก็แอบไปได้ยินข่าวคราวเกี่ยวกับหมอดูแม่น ๆ คนใหม่ที่โลกทั้งใบต้องตื่นตะลึงในความถูกต้องแม่นยำของเขา  ผมจึงต้องตาลีตาเหลือกไปจ้างหมอดูท่านนี้มาเป็นที่ปรึกษาเป็นการด่วน ทั้งนี้เพื่อให้แน่ใจว่าตัวเลขประมาณการด้านเศรษฐกิจที่ธนาคารโลกจะนำออกเผยแพร่แก่สาธารณชนในเดือนมิถุนายนนั้นใกล้เคียงกับความเป็นจริงที่สุด ไม่อย่างนั้นเสียชื่อนักเศรษฐศาสตร์ฟันธงหมด

Seeing, hearing and reading about how we help small farmers in Latin America

Molly Norris's picture

The cheep-cheep of newly-hatched chicks is the sound of a growing livelihood to Adriana and Nalcy Banderas, smallholder farmers hard at work in a verdant Colombian village. And we wanted to bring you down that red clay road to see how the Banderases, and other people like them have changed their lives with opportunities supported by the World Bank.

Paul the Octopus' forecast on the Thai economy: Swimming with one tentacle

Frederico Gil Sander's picture

Image courtesy of Caitfoto through a Creative Commons license
(Available in: ภาษาไทย)

Following the very successful earlier engagements of a Khmer palm reader and a celebrity turtle-shell fortune teller, the Thailand economic team has recently hired the forecasting star of the moment to divine the future of the economy. I am not talking about Professor Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini, but Octopus Paul, who had to escape Germany in a hurry to avoid becoming “pulpo a la Gallega”. For a hefty fee of a five shrimps, the wise cephalopod spent a few hours in our offices sharing his prognosis for the Thai economy.