For many smallholder farmers, accessing larger, more lucrative markets can seem like an impossible proposition. While contract farming (a set agreement between a farmer and a buyer) can help establish set prices and more reliable links to domestic and international markets, contracts are typically signed with more educated, medium-sized farmers rather than smallholders.
The November 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 global corn inventories and prices, EPA ethanol mandates, and the wheat genome project.
A new report from the African Development Bank (AfDB) examines the food security situation and needs of North Africa. The Political Economy of Food Security in North Africa finds that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the world's largest importer of cereals, with dependence on food imports expected to increase by 2050 due to a burgeoning population, decreasing agricultural productivity, and rising incomes.
The latest FAO Food Outlook finds that, on average, global food prices have been 8 percent lower during 2012 than they were in 2011. Global food import bills are forecast at USD 1.14 trillion, which is 10 percent lower than the record import bills seen in 2011.
Recent financial crises have impacted nearly all aspects of the global economy, including foreign aid. With the "fiscal cliff" looming in the United States, development programs throughout the world could face even greater budget cuts in the coming months. As donor countries tighten their belts, greater attention must be paid to which types of programs and interventions have the most impact in developing countries.
At the World Summit of Food Security in 2009, the definition of food security was expanded to include nutrition as a critical component of the overall concept of food security. Despite increased recognition of the importance of nutrition, however, many Arab countries continue to struggle with malnutrition, particularly among children.
The latest edition of the GIEWS Global Food Price Monitor reports that international cereals export prices remained stable in October. While wheat prices experienced some upward pressure due to trends in Australia and Ukraine, this was offset by favorable planting conditions for US winter wheat. Similarly, rice prices remained stable, falling only 1 percent from September. Maize prices also fell marginally based on slowing trade activity and progress of the US harvest.
The FAO released today its Food Price Index for November. The Index fell slightly in October to 213 points, largely due to lower international prices for cereals, oils, and fats. The report also finds that for the first 10 months of 2012, international food prices were on average eight percent lower than during the same period in 2011.
On November 4, the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the USAID-funded Bangladesh Policy Research and Strategy Support Program (PRSSP) and IFPRI, launched a new program designed to fill gaps in knowledge surrounding the country's food security and agricultural sector. The Agricultural Policy Support Unit (APSU) will build capacity for critical policy research within the country and will provide evidence-based recommendations for short-term, medium-term, and long-term policies.