The African Growth and Development Policy (AGRODEP) Modeling Consortium recently issued its second annual call for "Gaps in Research" Grants. These grants support research on emerging issues in Africa that have previously received little or no attention. The selected topic of this year’s grant is “Barriers to the expansion of agriculture and agroindustry in Africa”.

The FAO has released the latest version of its Food Price Index. The June Index was almost 2 points below May levels, but remained 11 points higher than in June 2012. The slight decline came mainly from sugar and dairy prices.

The Cereals Price Index also declined slightly by 2.5 points in June on expectations of bumper global crops. Tight coarse grain supplies are expected to continue until harvests in the fall, however, and the Index remains 14 points above its June 2012 level.

Last week, India’s executive branch passed the historic National Food Security Bill (NFSB), an act that will dramatically increase the number of people who receive food subsidies from the government. While India’s existing food distribution system, the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), is already enormous, the NFSB proposes to increase coverage to 75% of India’s rural population and 50% of the urban population – a whopping 800 million people.

The latest FEWS Net Monthly Price Watch was released today. The report saw stable global rice and wheat prices in May, although wheat prices remain at high levels. Rice production is on track to surpass last year's record harvests, and rice prices are expected to remain relatively stable for the rest of the year. Global maize prices increased on delayed planting in North America, caused mainly by poor weather conditions.

Cross-posted from the HarvestPlus blog.

A new initiative, the Community for Zero Hunger, was launched this week. It will identify the greatest gaps that remain in reducing hunger and malnutrition, and leverage the private sector to help fill those gaps at scale.

The 2013 G8 Summit is fast approaching, and development actors around the world are pressing for malnutrition to take center stage at the talks. In the lead-up to the summit, The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, has released a new series on maternal and child malnutrition.

The GIEWS Global Food Price Monitor for May was released today, citing a 5 percent rise in global maize prices. The increase in maize prices reflects planting delays in the US caused by cold, wet weather in key growing areas. Wheat export sales also increased in May, adding further upward pressure on prices. Higher maize prices were seen in many low-income countries in LAC due to higher transport costs and reduced outputs.

The FAO released today its latest Food Price Index, which has remained largely unchanged from last month at 215.2 points. While this is 10 points higher than in May 2012, it still remains nearly 10 percent lower than the peak seen in February 2011.

The Cereals Price Index rose four points from April, largely based on a strong rebound in maize prices as the US experienced planting delays and a tightening of exports. Wheat and rice prices, on the other hand, remained largely unchanged in May.

Cross-posted from IFPRI.org
*By Marcia MacNeil

West Africa is on the cusp: after years of stagnation and decline, the region has seen steady growth for nearly two decades, and is moving from recovery to transformation

The May 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 the new WTO Director General, Brazil and Argentina joining the US in the International Corn Alliance, rising wheat prices in the Black Sea region, and Iran's stoppage of wheat exports.