The specter of the world's food crisis topped the agenda at the weekend World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington D.C. "Soaring food prices have put an enormous stress on the most vulnerable this year," World Bank president Robert Zoellick said. Last May, the World Bank set up a special $1.2 billion financing facility to provide fast relief for those hardest hit by the food crisis, Zoellick reported. But, $850 million of that has been obligated and "we are going to need more," he said.
He praised a recent contribution of $50 million from Australia and noted European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has proposed an additional $1 billion euros "to support the need and the small farmers in countries under severe stress due to the global food crisis." Zoellick urged European donors to support Barroso's proposal, which was passed last week by the Development Committee of the European Parliament, and which now must go to member states for approval.