The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a decision to provide Jordan with a $130 million loan to establish a higher council for food security.
According to a recent report made available to Al Mamlaka TV on Sunday, Jordan plans to establish the higher council, which is expected to be partially funded by the EBRD loan.
The bank noted that Jordan has prioritised enhancing food security in line with its national food security strategy launched in September 2021, at a time Jordan relies heavily on food imports and buys over 95 per cent of its grain supply.
The new strategy identifies key interventions to address food availability, access and stabilisation, as the initial investment of $480 million will reduce short-term supply shocks and address urgent local needs for wheat and barley using the country's current maximum actual storage capacity.
A second investment of $20 million is expected to ensure food security by alleviating the risk of commodity price hikes, with $15 million allocated to expanding storage capacities.
The Cabinet in July approved the mandating reasons for a draft "Bylaw of the Food Security Council for 2022", and referred it to the Legislation and Opinion Bureau to be duly shared with the legal committee.
The newly launched Economic Modernisation Vision (2022-2033) stipulated the establishment of a specialised food security agency, meant to reduce the Kingdom's vulnerability to global food crises and climate change.
In August, Jordan launched the 2021-2030 National Strategy for Food Security and its 2022-2024 executive plan, which is the first of its kind related to food security in the Kingdom, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
The strategy was launched in implementation of His Majesty King Abdullah's directives to mark 2021 as a year of food security, and to make Jordan a regional model for food security.
The EBRD said that the loan would be in favour of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, which is responsible for international and national procurement, storage, sale and distribution of wheat and barley in Jordan.
The bank added that the loan would fund working capital needs related to the purchase of grain and supporting the strategic expansion of grain storage across the Kingdom.
The bank noted that the loan is intended to ensure available liquidity for the purchase of grain, expand strategic grain storage capacity and contribute to the country's overall food security in response to the repercussions of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the resulting interruptions in grain supplies and record price hikes.
In September, the agriculture ministers of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria agreed to support the Kingdom's initiative to host the regional observatory for food security, in order to participate in constructing policies that provide successful emergency solutions to food security issues.
At the time, the ministers approved a proposal by the World Food Programme to conduct a feasibility study on establishing a regional food security centre in Jordan.
They agreed on the importance of increasing food security and enhancing integration due to current global changes, expectations of increased demand for food, price hikes and food-producing and food-importing countries’ plans to increase strategic reserves.
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