Sustainable agricultural growth and fair, stable global markets are key to maintaining global food security and reducing hunger and poverty, as well as to fulfilling the G20 commitment to worldwide economic growth and development. How to encourage growth and maintain stable markets, however, is a complex and widely debated issue. Reliable, objective research is needed to address the concerns of both the developed and the developing world and to ensure that domestic needs are not protected at the cost of global stability.

As food prices rose in 2010, the issue of food security was once again brought to the forefront of global attention. Wildfires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and Australia, and drought in China contributed to widespread concern about the cost and sustainability of the world’s food supply. With high and volatile food prices causing potential long-term problems for economic growth and poverty reduction, particularly in the developing world, the need for research-based policy responses is clear.

In the search for effective and sustainable policies to promote fertilizer use, numerous studies (especially those focused on developing regions) identify several supply-side and demand-side constraints at both the regional and country level that limit the development of input markets, and consequently fertilizer uptake.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), funded by USAID, has released its latest monthly price watch detailing staple food prices for November 2010. These reports provide food security updates for 25 countries vulnerable to food insecurity, focusing on impacts on livelihoods and markets. These updates can help policymakers recognize and mitigate potential threats to food security.

Download the latest reports below. For more information regarding FEWS NET, please visit www.fews.net.

Global food prices have a range of effects, both positive and negative, on agricultural markets, food prices, and food security in the developing world. Having access to reliable food price information is critical for policymakers, food policy experts, and researchers to be able to respond quickly to dynamic developments in the global food system.

Feeding a growing world population, likely to reach 9 billion by 2050, poses an unprecedented challenge to human ingenuity. How to satisfy the demand for food by the some 8 billion people who will live in the developing world is a particularly pressing food security question. Even in the best of circumstances, sustainably satisfying the increased demand for crops and livestock by these people will be an enormous challenge. The negative consequences of climate change on food production make meeting these food requirements even more daunting.

Strategic grain reserves—also called emergency food reserves or food security reserves—have received considerable attention following the global food crisis of 2007–08. Various models for holding reserves have been discussed at such high-level forums as the G-8 Summit and have been studied by the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and other regional economic organizations. By early 2009, countries that already had such programs scaled up their existing reserves, while countries that had dismantled such policies began a discussion about re-instituting them.

Nutrition has been gaining momentum as an important issue in high-level global development debates. Dr. David Nabarro of the UN High Level Task Force on the Food Security Crisis recently shared his views on how human nutrition is being prioritized, addressed, resourced, and assessed by different groups of stakeholders at global, regional, and national levels. At the 20th Annual Martin J. Forman Memorial Lecture, held on November 4 at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, Dr.

Apparent similarities between today’s rising wheat prices and the food-price crisis of 2007-2008 are just that: apparent, not real. Suggestions to the contrary serve to drive up prices and hurt poor people, who spend much or most of their incomes on food. They need neither jittery markets nor ad hoc protectionism, which has exacerbated past food crises.

Recent events in Russia, one of the largest suppliers of wheat in the world, have raised concern about the current and future price of wheat and wheat-based products. This article briefly examines the issue and determines if there is in fact cause for serious alarm.

Summary of Facts