‘Food crisis a threat to Latin America’s poor’

May 28th, 2008 - 4:00 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 28 (IANS) Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced a $550 million line of credit to help the poor sector of Latin American population overcome the economic and social impact of the rise in global food prices, EFE news agency reported Wednesday. The bank’s chief Luis Alberto Moreno Tuesday told the bank’s board more than 26 million people in the region could slide into extreme poverty as food prices rise 128 percent.

It is estimated that around 71 million of the region’s people subsist on less than $1 a day, the IDB chief said.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

It is expected that the IDB board will approve the credit line within the next two weeks.

Moreno said that the measure seeks to support those initiatives intended to protect the most vulnerable sectors of the public, as well as the projects designed to provide incentives to agriculture and investment in logistics to reduce costs and improve distribution of basic goods.

He said a part of the credit would be transferred to households on condition that parents send their children to school or make sure they have periodic medical check-ups.

Projects like Brazil’s Bolsa Familia and Mexico’s Oportunidades are two examples of the conditional transfer programmes for development of human capital resource that have had broad success in the region, Moreno said.

The IDB chief said failure to act without delay would wreak havoc on the economy of the entire region and the price of recovery would be enormous.

Moreno insisted that now is the time to act, “given that food prices still have not fully translated into inflation”.

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