The latest FAO Food Price Index, released this week, remained largely unchanged from last month's at 206.7 points. Overall, the Index was slightly lower in 2013 than in 2012; food prices declined 1.6 percent in the past year. However, 2013 levels were still the third highest annual value on record.

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Fertilizer use in India has exploded since the government began a subsidization program in the 1970s. National fertilizer consumption rates increased by 50% during the 1990s. But research has shown that the effectiveness of these inputs has actually declined – on average, 8 kilograms of grain were produced per kilogram of fertilizer in the late 1990s, compared to 25 kg of grain per kg of fertilizer in the 1960s.

The issue of large-scale public food stockholding programs played a starring role in this month's 9th WTO Ministerial in Bali (for more analysis, read posts by Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla and David Laborde and Luca Salvatici).

The “food vs. fuel” debate came no closer to a resolution last week, as Energy ministers from the European Union’s 28 member states failed to agree on a compromise limiting the use of transport fuels made from food crops such as rapeseed and wheat, so-called first generation biofuels.

This was originally posted on IFPRI.org
By Ashley St. Thomas

If you learned that a $1 investment in your child’s nutritional intake during infancy would ultimately net an $18 return, would you make the investment? Yes, if you had the means, it’s likely you would. It’s a win-win: healthier child, healthier bank account.

This post is the first in a series of expert opinion pieces on the conclusion of the Bali package.
By David Laborde and Luca Salvatici

The latest FAO Food Price Index was released yesterday, remaining virtually unchanged from October at 206.3 points. The Index is 4.4 percent below its November 2012 level.

The Cereals Index dropped two points in November, and is a full 24 percent lower than it was in November 2012. This year's record cereals crop is the main driver of this reduction in cereals prices, particularly for wheat, maize, and rice.

By Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla, visiting Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI and member of the group on agricultural issues of the E-15 Initiative launched by ICTSD

This piece was originally posted on IFPRI.org.
By Rebecca Sullivan

Input subsidy programs—a mainstay of 1960s and 1970s international donor agendas—have regained favor in Africa south of the Sahara in recent years. Although 10 African countries spent more than $1 billion on these programs in 2011 alone, little information exists on the impacts the programs are having on households and communities.