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Mainstreaming Food Safety and Agriculture Health Standards in Bank Operations

Interventions to strengthen food safety and/or agriculture health management capacities can contribute to growth, poverty reduction, and the pursuit of national and international public goods. Among lower and (to a lesser extent) middle-income countries, weaknesses in food safety and/or agricultural health management, both in the private and public sectors, presently constrain productivity and competitiveness.  Such constraints will almost certainly take on greater importance in the coming years, given trends in consumer attitudes and preferences, changes in supply chain governance and market structures, the changing composition of international food and agricultural trade, and continued advances in science and technology.

In the past years there has been increased demand from among the World Bank’s clients for policy advice related to standards and for financial and technical assistance in strengthening national (private and public) capacities for quality, food safety and agriculture health management. The Bank has responded to this growing demand by supporting the design and implementation of projects with significant large components in this field and the progressive inclusion of analyses of standards capacities within the Integrated Framework’s Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies.

Similarly, the Bank has regularized or mainstreamed its work on standards within the institution’s policy and lending support. This has implied the incorporation of standards-related analyses and investments within broader economic/policy studies and broader project interventions, including those for agricultural services and commercialization, export promotion, regulatory reform, etc. With the support from the Dutch Government, the Bank has undertaken a series of activities in order to broaden and deepen the operational agenda related to food safety and agriculture health management, including:

  • Strategic planning for food safety and agriculture health management: under this component, the World Bank has undertaken Country Assessments of food safety and agriculture health capacities in several countries. Actions Plans to strengthen those capacities, based on the assessment and prioritization of constraints and opportunities, have also been prepared.

  • Sub-project design and implementation: the work of the World Bank in the area of technical assistance also covered support in the design and implementation of food safety and agriculture health projects or project components. During the period 1998-2007 about 41 projects with food safety and agriculture health components were approved, covering 35 countries. About 15 percent of the nearly US$ 1.2 billion approved budget went toward strengthening food safety and agriculture health capacity.

chart for Standards, Sep 2008

See examples of recent approved projects with food safety and agriculture health components.

Last updated on Sep 22, 2008

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