Saturday 13 March 2021 | 09:46 am
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The United Nations World Food Program in Iraq revealed, on Saturday, that the price of the food basket has risen to 14% after the devaluation of the local currency against the dollar, while calling for formulating policies to increase the contribution to the gross domestic product .
“The World Food Program monitors food prices, including the average food basket of 2,100 calories per day, ” said the representative of the World Food Program in Iraq, Abdul Rahman Megaj, in a statement reported by the official Al-Sabah newspaper .
Megaj added, “10% of people use ‘coping strategies’ to help with their condition, because they do not have enough food to eat. Of those 10%, about 35% buy cheaper food, and of the same 10%, about 27% buy food .
He continued, “The World Food Program is working during the current year to reach 849,000 people across Iraq, through monthly support for the most vulnerable people, building resilience and school feeding programs, in addition to government support, including digitization and reform of the public distribution system for rations. Food, and the work of the World Food Program is expanding in the south of the country, where poverty indicators are among the worst. The poverty rate in Iraq is about 31.7% .
He revealed, “The average price of the food basket has increased by 14% since the devaluation and is expected to remain at a new high level, which will directly affect the food security of the vulnerable population in Iraq, especially the displaced, returnees, refugees and other vulnerable Iraqis .”
The representative of the program stated that “it is necessary to support imports of basic foodstuffs, to help reduce the impact of devaluation on the purchasing power of vulnerable Iraqis, and it will also be necessary to formulate policies to increase the contribution to GDP from sectors other than oil, and to reduce economic dependence on Oil exports by boosting domestic food production .
Regarding the ration card items, he explained that “according to the recommendations of the National White Book for Iraq, focusing the public distribution system on the most vulnerable people will be necessary to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the system, and thus support the most needy families by providing the required foodstuffs monthly without interruption .”
He pointed out that “data-based decision-making and policy planning are also important and it is necessary to monitor food security at the national level and early warning systems, link main data sets and determine when action is required, which will allow Iraq to respond proactively to food security needs .”
The representative of the United Nations World Food Program in Iraq explained, “Although the government has taken appropriate measures, humanitarian and development actors in the country also need to increase efforts to mitigate the impact of devaluation on vulnerable groups. Additional support from countries will also be needed. The donor at this time ”.