World Bank approves loan for food security project in China

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The World Bank has approved a loan of $ 400 million to help China improve food safety management and reduce food safety risks.

The cost of foodborne illness in terms of lost productivity of human capital in China is estimated to be over $ 30 billion per year, nearly 50 percent of the total economic burden of foodborne infections in Asia, according to the World Bank.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food safety concerns in the processing, packaging and transportation of agricultural products. Improving food safety standards is important for China’s trading partners and the competitiveness of agricultural exports.

The China Food Security Improvement Project will strengthen regulations, enforcement and compliance along value chains, including seafood, pork, fruits and vegetables, in line with global practices. The total cost is $ 735 million.

It will promote scientific and evidence-based application of food safety regulations at the provincial and municipal levels using risk-based approaches.

The project will be implemented by the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Areas (MARA) at the national and provincial levels. Food safety enforcement and supervision will be supported in Guangdong and Shandong provinces.

Global Benefits
The work will help farms and businesses improve compliance with food safety regulations, achieve certification standards and access finance for food safety technologies.

“By adopting an integrated and risk-based approach, in line with global best practices, this project can help China mitigate public health risks and reduce the economic and environmental costs associated with production, processing and marketing of dangerous foods. Because China is a major food exporter and a hotspot for the emergence of foodborne illnesses, the project brings significant global benefits, ”said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for China.

Risk communication campaigns will be organized to promote food safety and healthier lifestyles, complementing regulatory improvements and strengthening enforcement with measures to support demand for healthy foods and encourage better compliance.

About 7,500 family farms, cooperatives, SMEs and large enterprises in the agricultural and food sector will be helped by the effort to better manage the risks associated with food security.

The hope is that it will benefit around 600,000 households in Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing municipalities in Guangdong province and Yantai municipality in Shandong province. About 3 million inhabitants of these areas are expected to be affected by communication campaigns on food safety risks.

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