The FAO Food Price Index rose slightly in March based on higher dairy prices. The Index rose by 1 percent from February, but is still 1.7 percent lower than March of 2012 and nearly 11 percent below its peak in February 2011.
Ethiopia faces many challenges, but the country is quickly shedding its label as one of the world’s poorest countries, finding itself today among the world’s 10 fastest growing economies. The question now at hand is how to sustain this historic growth, and emerge as a middle-income country by 2025. The Ethiopian government is turning to its leading—but one of its most underperforming— industries for the answer: agriculture.
It's become clearer and clearer in recent years that spikes in food prices can have significant impact on incomes, markets, and nutrition worldwide. Extreme fluctuations in the price of food can pose challenges for both consumers and producers, and also often lead to political and market overreaction such as export restrictions. While such policies are designed to protect domestic populations, they can further exacerbate price spikes on the international market and have devastating consequences for global food security.
With breaking news about new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) coming out of China, questions arise again about how this disease is transmitted and what can be done to prevent future outbreaks. While the Chinese government has heightened disease detection efforts and increased prevention, control, and communications efforts in response to the recently reported cases, a strong global response is also necessary to control the spread of this disease.
Effective policymaking relies on sound knowledge. Knowing what works and what doesn't, who the target population is and what they need, and what the situation is really like "on the ground" is crucial to ensuring that policies and programs have the desired impacts. But all too often, critical information is out of date, difficult to locate and access, or even nonexistent.
The March issue of the FAO Monthly News Report was released today. The report covers ongoing global and regional trends in grain prices and policies. This month's report includes articles on shipments of Argentine corn to the United States, India's wheat production policies, and dry weather impacting South African maize crops.
In 2003, African leaders met in Maputo, Mozambique to try and stem the tide of Africa's long-standing hunger crisis. The need was critical - with Ethiopia experiencing widespread famine and drought threatening harvests throughout central and eastern Africa, the continent's food security challenges were becoming more daunting by the day.
Today marks the 20th annual World Water Day, an event centered on increasing recognition of the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of the world’s freshwater resources. This year’s World Water Day is dedicated to the theme of international water cooperation and is coordinated by UNESCO in collaboration with UNECE and UNDESA on behalf of UN-Water.
2012 was a year of challenges for the global food system, from severe drought in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the United States to ongoing conflict in Central Africa to political stalemates over the end of distortionary agricultural subsidies in the US and EU. As 2013 begins, global food security continues to be in a vulnerable position, with 870 million people hungry and 2 billion people poorly nourished.
The latest FAO Food Price Index, released last week, was unchanged from January levels, remaining steady at 210 points. This is five points lower than the levels seen in February 2012. The Cereals Price Index and Oils/Fats Price Index remained generally steady as well, experiencing a 1 percent drop and 0.4 percent rise, respectively. The slight decline seen for cereals is due mainly to improved wheat and maize prospects in the US.