In Managua: María Teresa Norori Paniagua (505) 270-0000
In Washington: Gabriela Aguilar (202) 473-6768
WASHINGTON, January 23, 2009-- The World Bank yesterday approved a US$7 million grant to Nicaragua to help the country mitigate the impact of increased food prices by providing immediate relief to the most vulnerable groups and expanding the supply of agricultural products. The grant will be funded through the Food Price Crisis Response Trust Fund launched by the World Bank last May.
“This operation will support two existing government programs, thereby ensuring their continuity and targeting to areas and individuals most affected by the crisis,” said Laura Frigenti, World Bank Director for Central America. “The first program will ensure that poor children in the most vulnerable areas continue to receive lunch at school, maintaining their intake of nutritive food at a time of crisis and encouraging their continued attendance; and the second program will support small farmers to increase their production during the next agricultural cycles,” she added.
Between early 2006 and mid-2008 global food prices have increased dramatically. In Nicaragua, domestic food price inflation increased from 10.7 percent in January 2006 to 34.2 percent in August 2008. High food prices affect a majority of Nicaraguans, but the poor are disproportionately affected by high food inflation rates, as the share of their incomes devoted to food purchases is larger than higher income groups.
The Emergency Food Price Response Project will support the following activities:
- Support the ongoing Integral School Nutrition Program (PINE), benefiting approximately 263,000 preschool and primary school children in 52 municipalities (eight departments) who experience severe or high poverty levels. This component will be implemented by the Ministry of Education.
- Support the Agro-Seeds Program (Programa Agroalimentario de Semilla – PAS) which distributes a technological package of certified seeds, fertilizers, training and technical assistance to beneficiaries in the form of a credit. The loan can be reimbursed with in-kind contributions or in cash at the end of each agricultural cycle. The program will assist approximately 31,590 small producers from areas where the agricultural cycle is most compromised. This component will be executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, with the support of public sector agencies, such as the Nicaraguan Agricultural Technology Institute, the Rural Development Institute, the Nicaraguan Basic Food Company, and the Rural Credit Fund.
“The project will help in the design of other core programs of the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy, such as the development of a nutrition curriculum for children and teachers and the design of tools and guidelines for the provision of child and maternal health services by the Ministry of Health,” said Joseph Owen, World Bank Country Manager to Nicaragua.