The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a US$100 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) and US$27 million grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to improve food and nutrition security.
The new grant will focus on delivering immediate support to beneficiary households through Cash-for-Works (CFW) opportunities and provision of nutritious food products to vulnerable households, as well as building the longer-term resilience of Yemeni households by supporting restoration of agricultural production and value chain building activities, to increase the sales of nutritious crops, livestock, and fish products.
Even before the conflict in Yemen escalated in 2015, the country already had one of the world’s highest malnutrition levels, and the situation has significantly worsened during the past six years. In 2021, over 2.25 million children under the age of five are threatened with acute malnutrition; 395,000 of them are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and could die without treatment.
The recent projected figures in the Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Analysis mark a 16 percent increase in acute malnutrition and a 22 percent increase in severe acute malnutrition among children under five compared to last year’s estimate. This is the highest number on record in Yemen. An additional concern is that more than one million pregnant and breastfeeding women are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition during 2021 in Yemen.
“The situation in Yemen is unbearably heartbreaking. In addition to the ongoing conflict, Yemen is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters, which further contribute to its vulnerability,” said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. “This new IDA grant will help Yemenis secure income through Cash for Work Projects, restore agricultural production activities, and improve nutrition at the household level.”
Agriculture is essential to support lives and livelihoods in Yemen, particularly during this challenging period. The Yemen Food Security Response and Resilience Project will assist Yemen farmers who have hardly been hit by the conflict, natural disasters and COVID-19, and increase farmers’ ability to provide food for their families and communities. The program will benefit more than 77,000 farmers allowing to restore agricultural production, including more than 19,000 women; over 26,000 beneficiaries (including more than 6,600 women) will benefit under the Cash for Work Programs; and over 518,000 vulnerable children and women will be reached through nutrition improvement activities
“Yemen’s food security crisis is dramatic and multi-faceted, with compounded challenges which adversely impact food prices and households’ incomes. A comprehensive response will require even greater resource mobilization, strong partnerships across the humanitarian-development nexus, and addressing the root causes of food insecurity” said Tania Meyer, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen.
The support to affected farmers will include funds for the purchase of eligible agricultural inputs, cash transfers to small farmers and women involved in agriculture, provision of small agricultural equipment and protective equipment, as well as technical support.
The project will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme in partnership with local institutions ensuring project activities reach throughout the whole country.
The grant will provide crucial support for Yemeni people suffering from violent conflict—now in its sixth year—that has brought the economy to a near collapse. It is aligned with the World Bank Group’s strategy for fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV), which focuses on remaining engaged in active conflict situations to support the most vulnerable communities and key institutions.
The newly approved funds bring total IDA grants in Yemen to US$2.241 billion since 2016. The World Bank provides technical expertise to design projects and guide their implementation by building stronger partnerships with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme, World Food Programme, World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, and United Nations Office for Project Services, all of which have the capacity for project implementation on the ground in Yemen.