Food Security

ADB $15b Project Aims to Ease Regional Food Insecurity

The Asian Development Bank has launched a five-year program to invest $15 billion to ease the worsening food crisis across Asia-Pacific amid climate change, globally rising food prices, unsustainable farming practices and the war in Ukraine
A person transports bags of rice on a motorbike in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A person transports bags of rice on a motorbike in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to invest at least $14 billion in a comprehensive program of support over the next five years for the Asia-Pacific region to ease the worsening food crisis and strengthen systems for long-term food security of climate change and biodiversity loss.

From now until 2025, assistance will be provided under the program, which will leverage $5 billion in private sector co-financing to improve food security across ADB's sovereign and private sector operations.

As part of the funding, existing as well as new projects will be supported in agricultural inputs, food production, and distribution, social protection, irrigation, and water resources management, as well as nature-based solutions. Besides energy transition and transport, ADB will invest in environmental management, health, education, and access to rural finance that contribute to food security.

“Nearly 1.1 billion people in the region lack healthy diets owing to poverty and high food prices, which have reached record highs this year. The assistance increases ADB's already significant support for food security in the region.

The PACC, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) are working to reduce climate vulnerability and promote more resilient Pacific communities that are able to cope with climate variability today and climate change tomorrow.

“This is a timely and urgently needed response to a crisis that is leaving too many poor families in Asia hungry and in deeper poverty,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa in remarks at ADB’s 55th Annual Meeting.

“We need to act now before the impacts of climate change worsen and further erode the region’s hard-won development gains,” he added.

Agricultural supplies have been disrupted by Russian aggression in Ukraine, straining a global food system already weakened by climate change, pandemic-related supply shocks, and unsustainable farming practices.

Some countries in Asia-Pacific depend on imported staples and fertilizer, making them vulnerable to food shocks. Several ADB low-income member countries had unaffordable nutritious food even before Ukraine's invasion.

“As part of our long-term strategy, we must protect natural resources, support farmers and agribusinesses, and promote open trade to ensure food reaches consumers efficiently,” said Asakawa.

Following the global food crisis in 2007 to 2008 and the implementation of its food security operational plan in 2009, ADB will apply lessons learned. There have been annual investments of $2 billion in food security by ADB. According to ADB, food security has been identified as one of its top operational priorities since 2018.