Friday, April 08, 2011

A Plan to Prevent Recurring Food Crises

The International Food Policy Research Institute has published a policy brief with background on the recent food crisis three years ago and proposals of preventative urgent actions.

The brief, published in March of this year, offers some background on the factors that helped create the most recent crisis. 
Just three years after the 2007-08 food crisis, the food security of poor people and vulnerable groups, especially women and children, is under threat as the prices of basic food items skyrocket. Expanding biofuel production, rising oil prices, U.S. dollar depreciation, export restrictions, and panic purchasing are again driving up food prices—to the particular detriment of the world’s poorest consumers, who spend some 50-70 percent of their incomes on food.
Some of these proposals could be addressed in the discussions of the next farm bill (which sets US agriculture policy for the next 5-year period).  Those discussions will occur in 2012.
  • Curtailing subsidies and reforming policies, particularly in the United States and Europe, to minimize biofuels’ contribution to volatility in food markets.
  • Creating or strengthening social protection for women, young children, and other especially vulnerable groups—something few countries have done during or since the 2007-08 crisis.
  • Improving the transparency, fairness, and openness of international trade to enhance the efficiency of global agricultural markets.
  • Setting up a global emergency grain reserve to handle food price crises.
  • Pursuing policies and investments to promote agricultural growth, in particular smallholder productivity, in the face of climate change.
  • Investment by national governments in climate change adaptation and mitigation using the full potential that agriculture offers.
  • Establishing an international working group to monitor the world food situation and trigger action to prevent excessive price volatility.
Here's a link to the full brief in PDF format

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