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Pulses are an essential source of protein and minerals for much of the global population, to reflect this the UN has named 2016 as the ‘’International Year of Pulses.’ However, despite increasing demand, global pulse productivity remains low at around a quarter of global cereal yields per hectare, according to IFPRI.

The 2015 Global Hunger Index reports that despite progress in reducing hunger worldwide, hunger levels in 52 of 117 countries remain “serious” or “alarming.” The FAO’s 2015 State of Food Insecurity report estimates that 795 million people are undernourished, with uneven levels of undernourishment across countries. Simultaneously, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.9 billion adults are overweight.

The FAO’s monthly report on food price trends was released on July 11. The bulletin reports on recent food price developments at the global, regional, and country levels, with a focus on developing countries and provides early warnings for high country-level food prices that may negatively affect food security.

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The FAO’s biannual report on global food markets was released this month. The report provides an overview of global trends for several main agricultural products, including wheat, coarse grains, rice, oilcrops, meat, and milk and fishery products, as well as a special feature on pulses. The report also provides a country-level review of major policy developments for grains, rice, oilcrops, meat, and dairy.

The effects of climate change vary from region to region, but according to a new study from the World Bank, the majority of the global impact stemming from climate change will come through the water cycle. High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy examines how scarce and variable water supplies will interact with growing global populations, rising incomes, and expanding urban areas and how smart policies and investments can reduce or eliminate the negative consequences.

On May 12, the USAID Agrilinks program held a webinar on a new report released by the World Bank, entitled Enabling the Business of Agriculture 2016: Comparing Regulatory Good Practices. The event examined the report’s key findings and discussed the objectives and future path of the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project.

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The world’s urban population is growing rapidly. According to a new publication from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, more people live in urban areas than rural areas today, and by 2060, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. This growth is particularly obvious in developing regions.

International wheat price trends were mixed in April but were still lower than wheat prices seen a year ago, according to the latest Food Price Monitoring and Analysis Bulletin released this week. The price of US hard red winter wheat fell three percent in April as a result of improved production prospects in several key producing areas. Global maize prices were up from March due to increased export demand and concerns about production in South America; however, April maize prices also remained lower than the previous year's levels.

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The current El Niño cycle is being called the one of the strongest on record, and it is already having serious impacts on local food production in many developing countries around the world. Production shortfalls, and subsequent food price hikes, will be particularly harmful for the world’s poorest consumers, who research shows spend 50-70 percent of their incomes on food.

Last year witnessed the culmination of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the launch of a new global development agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).