This article is cross-posted from ChinaDaily, written by Shenggen Fan, the Director General of International Food Policy Research Institute.

Use, control, and ownership of productive assets – land, money, livestock, and education, to name just a few – are essential stepping stones on the path out of poverty. But this pathway can look very different depending on whether you are a man or a woman. Growing evidence suggests that women typically have fewer assets than men, and that they use those assets differently. What’s more, agricultural development programs may impact men’s and women’s assets in different, sometimes unexpected, ways.

Fertilizer use in India has exploded since the government began a subsidization program in the 1970s. National fertilizer consumption rates increased by 50% during the 1990s. But research has shown that the effectiveness of these inputs has actually declined – on average, 8 kilograms of grain were produced per kilogram of fertilizer in the late 1990s, compared to 25 kg of grain per kg of fertilizer in the 1960s.

The issue of large-scale public food stockholding programs played a starring role in this month's 9th WTO Ministerial in Bali (for more analysis, read posts by Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla and David Laborde and Luca Salvatici).

The “food vs. fuel” debate came no closer to a resolution last week, as Energy ministers from the European Union’s 28 member states failed to agree on a compromise limiting the use of transport fuels made from food crops such as rapeseed and wheat, so-called first generation biofuels.

This was originally posted on
By Ashley St. Thomas

If you learned that a $1 investment in your child’s nutritional intake during infancy would ultimately net an $18 return, would you make the investment? Yes, if you had the means, it’s likely you would. It’s a win-win: healthier child, healthier bank account.

This post is the first in a series of expert opinion pieces on the conclusion of the Bali package.
By David Laborde and Luca Salvatici

By Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla, visiting Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI and member of the group on agricultural issues of the E-15 Initiative launched by ICTSD

This piece was originally posted on
By Rebecca Sullivan

Input subsidy programs—a mainstay of 1960s and 1970s international donor agendas—have regained favor in Africa south of the Sahara in recent years. Although 10 African countries spent more than $1 billion on these programs in 2011 alone, little information exists on the impacts the programs are having on households and communities.

Today kicks off the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference, taking place in Bali from December 3-6. As a sideline event, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) will host the Bali Trade & Development Symposium. The event will provide an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders, from policymakers to businesses to NGOs, to discuss key challenges facing the global trade system and the sustainable development agenda.