The USDA’s monthly report on World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) was released on August 12.

Ownership and control of assets have become increasingly recognized for their role in reducing poverty and improving individuals’ and households’ long-term well-being. In addition, research has shown that women’s ownership and control of assets can have important development outcomes both for women themselves and for their families.

The FAO’s monthly report on food price trends was released on August 10th. The bulletin reports on recent food price developments at the global, regional, and country levels, with a focus on developing countries and provides early warnings for high country-level food prices that may negatively affect food security.

The July FAO Food Price Index fell by 1.3 points following five consecutive months of increases. The slightly drop in July was driven mostly by lower international quotations of grains and vegetable oils.

The FAO estimates that malnutrition costs the global economy up to US$3.5 trillion or US$500 per person annually. To address this waste of economic potential, countries need to find ways to promote productive, sustainable food systems that support diverse, nutritious, and safe foods for all their citizens.

The indicators of development in the world have consistently improved over the past 25 years; globally, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has decreased from 37.1 percent in 1990 to 12.7 percent in 2012. Despite this, multiple indicators remain alarmingly high, for instance, the percentage of child malnutrition/stunting currently stands at 23.8 percent.

Since 2010, USAID’s Feed the Future program has aimed to reduce hunger and poverty by improving developing countries’ agricultural sectors. In July of this year, the program received renewed long-term support under the US’s new Global Food Security Act. The Act is designed to promote food security, resilience, and improved nutrition through investments in smallholder agriculture in developing countries. It also codified Feed the Future, making it a permanent program.

Photo Credit: Flickr: OXLAEY.com

Pulses are an essential source of protein and minerals for much of the global population, to reflect this the UN has named 2016 as the ‘’International Year of Pulses.’ However, despite increasing demand, global pulse productivity remains low at around a quarter of global cereal yields per hectare, according to IFPRI.

The 2015 Global Hunger Index reports that despite progress in reducing hunger worldwide, hunger levels in 52 of 117 countries remain “serious” or “alarming.” The FAO’s 2015 State of Food Insecurity report estimates that 795 million people are undernourished, with uneven levels of undernourishment across countries. Simultaneously, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.9 billion adults are overweight.