The increasing food and oil prices will in the near future push nearly 39 million people into extreme hunger and poverty if not urgently arrested.

This is the assessment of Camilla Reeds, an International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) trainer and seasoned journalist and communications officer. She was addressing global development journalists during training on Food Security and Financing this week, held in collaboration with Thomson Reuters.

Participating journalists are from countries including Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, India, and Uganda among others.

Reed said that the challenge of climate change effects and the Russia-Ukraine war were pushing Governments to be innovative in their approach to sourcing funds for improving the agriculture sector in order to feed nations.

Since 1978, IFAD has offered about 23.2 billion USD in grants and low-income loans to projects that have benefited nearly 518 million people. Botswana is a member state of IFAD, one of 94 nations listed with this agriculture agency, housed in Rome, Italy, considered to be the food capital of the world.

Reed pointed out that capital markets (which include banking, stocks, loaning, pension funds, insurance, primary and secondary markets, and regional and international trade, among others) would help improve revenue.

She noted that Governments could also redirect funds from revenue generated from localised markets such as coal and diamonds in the case of Botswana, to bolster their foreign reserves because their trade transactions are usually in USD.

"Food and energy prices are going up and the climate change impacts are worsening this scenario. Agriculture is also suffering due to changing extreme weather conditions which are increasing the number of people living in hunger and poverty.

“Funding is a critical issue because financing is essential to implementing climate change mitigation impact interventions and improving on food generation systems in the agriculture sector."

She said that bonding and remittances are also a sure way to gain revenue provided that the countries have good credit ratings, but hastened to add that in the case of countries having a poor credit score, mechanisms are usually put in place to ensure that such countries pay higher interest - which in turn forces them to strive to pay off the loans in full and on time.

She added that financial crime monitoring systems are also critical for reputation risks and ensure that policies are implemented.

IFAD is the first United Nations organisation and specialised agency other than the World Bank to enter capital markets, following the completion of its creditworthiness process in 2021.