FEWS NET has released the latest Monthly Price Watch for May 2012. The report cites slight fluctuations in the international grains markets, with wheat increasing in many markets and maize export prices continuing to decrease. In both East and West Africa, staple food prices (particularly cereals prices) increased in April. These increases were due to diminishing stocks from previous harvests (East Africa) and a rapid increase in demand that is still unmatched by supply (West Africa, particularly the Sahel).

May 25 marks Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (now recognized as the Africa Union) in 1963. The annual celebration honors ongoing efforts to address inequality, poverty, and conflict in the region. The theme of Africa Day 2012 is "Towards the Realisation of a United and Integrated Africa and Its Diaspora," calling for unity among all Africans in working for greater political and economic development. The next AU Summit will be held in Malawi in July, at which time the AU Chairperson will be elected.

While Africa is the center of much development and policy research, many emerging issues still do not receive the necessary attention and investment. The African Growth and Development Policy (AGRODEP) Modeling Consortium has issued its first annual call for competitive grant proposals to address such gaps in research.

At the G8 summit held over the weekend, world leaders focused on the issue of food security in the developing world, announcing a new initiative to reduce hunger and poverty. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a collaborative effort among G8 countries, African countries, and the global private sector and aims to lift 50 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years. This ambitious plan hinges on sustainable agricultural growth, with particular attention paid to smallholder and women farmers.

To revisit some of the most pressing issues to have emerged from the 2011 Policy Dialogue on the Importance of Statistical Information Systems in Improving Food Security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the National Institute for Agronomic Study and Research (INERA) are announcing a joint Call for Papers (CFP). IFPRI and INERA call for the development of two papers.

PAPER TOPICS
The two paper topics highlight main discussion points from the Policy Dialogue:

2011 Policy Dialogue on Food Security Information Systems in Uganda

To revisit some of the most pressing issues to have emerged from the 2011 Policy Dialogue on Food Security Information Systems in Uganda, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Economic and Policy Research Centre (EPRC) are announcing a joint Call for Papers (CFP). IFPRI and EPRC call for the development of two papers.

PAPER TOPICS
The two paper topics highlight main discussion points from the Policy Dialogue:

FEWS NET has released its April Food Price Watch, citing stable prices throughout much of Africa and Central America. The Sahel region saw relatively stable cereals prices due to food assistance interventions and successful transport from surplus areas. In East Africa, staple prices remained generally stable, though high; some areas in this region saw seasonal increases.

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Source: © 2011 G.M.B. Akash/Panos

In recent years, the world has faced continuing food security challenges. The food price spikes of 2007-2008 and 2010-2011 brought lasting impacts in the form of increasingly high food prices and price volatility, overwhelmingly harming the world's poorest producers and consumers. Guarding against price volatility to protect the world's most vulnerable populations will require restructuring global agricultural and financial markets, a need that global leaders are now beginning to recognize and address.

The Minister of Finance of an African country needs to reallocate the country’s public investment to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving the proportion of the poor and hungry by 2015: Should the minister increase investment in health and education, with the view that a future productive labor force can lift itself out of poverty? Or shift a greater share of the public budget to support agricultural productivity directly, as the vast majority of the poor relies on agriculture as their main livelihood?

The new report cites an important pattern of declining rainfall, particularly in the heavily populated areas of the Rift Valley. Extended drier weather could increase the number of Ethiopians at risk for food insecurity in the next two decades if agricultural development is not increased in other areas of the country.

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