Photo Credit: Flickr: IITA

As the global food system becomes more integrated, urban populations grow, and incomes continue to rise around the world, the issue of food safety is drawing greater and greater attention, according to a new brief from the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.

Food price volatility and extreme price shocks have serious implications for politics, agriculture, climate, and food and nutrition security, according to a new book published by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).

Photo Credit: Flickr: John Donaghy

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.

Photo Credit: Flickr: USDA

The global food system puts significant pressure on the world’s natural resources and is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a large amount of the food produced by this system is either lost or wasted each year, lowering overall productivity and hurting both producers and consumers. According to a recent blog by IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan, as much as one billion tons of food never reaches consumers.

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).

Photo Credit: Flickr: Fintrac, Inc.

A country’s food security conditions clearly have implications for the types of policies its leaders will try to enact and for the way that country interacts with international organizations and governing bodies. Much effort has been made to classify countries according to their food and nutrition security status in order to better guide policymaking, but determining such classifications is complicated.

Climate change has been front and center of the global agenda recently, driven by the historic COP21 meeting in Paris in December and concerns about the ongoing El Niño cycle.

BY: David Laborde and Eugenio Díaz-Bonilla, IFPRI

Export subsidies for agriculture have been a contentious issue. A particular anomaly in the multilateral trading system framework is that while export subsidies in industrial products have been banned under WTO rules, they are still allowed for agricultural products, including some that are rather industrialized, such as dairy and meat products.

In a new book, Macroeconomics, Agriculture, and Food Security: A Guide to Policy Analysis in Developing Countries, IFPRI’s Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla unpacks the significant and complex interplay between policies within a state’s economic program-- fiscal policy, monetary policy, exchange rate policy, and trade policy—and the impact of those relationships on agricultural development and food security.

Children enjoying the sweet taste of orange sweet potato. Photo credit: flickr (HarvestPlus)

Famine used to be the focus of efforts to combat hunger, but changes in policy, technology and aid have brought the developing world to the point where “calamitous famines” (with a death toll of one million or more) and even “great famines” (100,000 or more) are much more rare.