The Kingdom of Jordan received a $100 million loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development in an effort to assist the Kingdom enhance its food security and boost its agricultural development.
The development finance institution of the world's largest oil group released a statement emphasizing that their financial contribution is part of an emergency food security project, which aims to address the effects of a recent food supply crisis and stem the rise of commodity prices.
The agreement is part of the fund's wider $1 billion Food Security Action Plan which was announced in June, and is meant to boost food security in developing countries severely impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.
The agreement was signed in Amman, by Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director-General of the OPEC Fund, and Nasser Shraideh, Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Co-operation.
According to the World Food Program, Jordan, with a population of 11 million, is an upper-middle income country. Yet, it is poor in resources, with limited agricultural land, and is classified as a food-deficit nation. At the same time, despite being a food secure country, its food security is challenged by a number of factors, including slow economic growth and increased cost of living.
The OPEC Fund also highlighted that Jordan is a net importer of food, and its population, among with, approximately 1.3 million refugees from Syria, have been severely affected by a recent supply crisis.
This week, the US Agency for International Development said it was providing $22 million to help the UN give cash handouts to Syrian refugees to buy food. Last month, the WFP slashed food stipends for 353,000, primarily Syrian refugees, in Jordan by a third.
Moreover, the UN reported that over 141 million people in the Middle East face food insecurity. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation also noted that high food prices have increased world hunger and affected various groups .
According to the OPEC Fund, this loan will allow Jordan to import an additional grain supply totalling 390,000 metric tonnes. New bunkers for the grains will be located in the Al Qatrana, Al Mowakkar and Al Ghabawi areas, with storage capacities that will last for up to four years to be built.
The country has adopted a food security strategy, which includes short-term emergency response measures and medium-term investment plans and policy reforms as a response to the effects of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine. Lately, the OPEC Fund has been providing a string of financing assitance to a number of countries, to help them address food security issues.
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