The World Bank Tuesday approved a grant of US$7 million in additional financing to help Moldova address the challenges of the ongoing food crisis.
The additional financing to the Moldova Health Services and Social Assistance Project aims to improve nutrition among new and expecting mothers, infants and children and to provide cash transfers to social institutions which provide food to children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups, said a statement released by the World Bank.
The focus of nutrition interventions would be on protein energy malnutrition caused by inadequate intake of quantity of calories and protein, said the statement.
"This financing provides some badly needed support to people who are being hit hardest by the sharp increase in food prices," said Melanie Marlett, World Bank Country Manager for Moldova.
"By targeting the most vulnerable groups, we're hoping to ensure that an increase in food costs won't mean a decrease in the health of the poorest Moldovans," he said.
The impact of the global food crisis on Moldova's market and social conditions has to be put into the context of the catastrophic drought in 2007 and its consequences for food production in the country.
While generally Moldova is able to sustain its food self-sufficiency, the 2007 agricultural season was marked by a dramatic loss of crops and livestock. The most telling statistic is that the harvest of cereal crops in 2007 was only 30 percent of the 2006 harvest, while production of vegetables decreased by 33 percent and livestock fell by 25 percent, according to the World Bank.
Overall losses in the sector in Moldova amounted approximately to 1 billion dollars, leading to a production shock which has spanned into the 2008 agricultural season, it added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2008)