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The food system represents a vital economic sector, making up the largest source of employment (both self-employment and wage employment) in many developing countries. This system extends far beyond farm production to include a wide range of activities, including food processing, transportation, and retail.

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This piece was originally posted on the IFPRI.org blog
BY ROB VOS, EUGENIO DIAZ-BONILLA, DAVID LABORDE AND VALERIA PIÑEIRO, IFPRI

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This post first appeared on the International Growth Centre blog
By Antoine Bouët and David Laborde, Senior Research Fellows in IFPRI's Markets, Trade and Institutions Division.

With about one-third of all food produced around the world lost or wasted each year, reducing food loss and waste is a key component in ending hunger and malnutrition. A major hurdle, however, stems from the fact that food loss and waste are complex issues, and thus properly measuring them and identifying where in the food system they occur remain a challenge.

Photo Credit: Imran Sohail

The latest Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Bulletin from FAO cites higher global wheat export prices in July, up 6 percent from June and 28 percent from July 2016. Continued hot, dry weather raised concerns about availability, particularly of high-quality wheat; the European Union and the Black Sea region also saw harvest delays, further pushing up prices.

Leaders of the G20 countries met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7-8 for the 2017 G20 Summit Meeting. The meeting covered a multitude of critical topics, including climate change, international trade relations, globalization, poverty and hunger, gender inequity, and inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Photo Credit: Paul Ancheta

While progress has been made in reducing global poverty over the last two decades, about one billion people still live in poverty, according to the latest World Bank estimate. In addition, according to FAO, over 800 million people suffer from hunger, while more than two billion people suffer from macronutrient deficiencies, or “hidden hunger”. IFPRI’s 2016 Global Hunger Index reports that 50 countries continue to have “serious” or “alarming” hunger levels, with the most affected areas in Africa south of the Sahara and South Asia.

Since the 2007-2008 food price crisis, food price volatility has been front and center in the international development conversation. The period of the crisis saw a dramatic rise in the international price of grains and other important commodities, while the years immediately following the crisis saw increasing grain price fluctuations on the international market.

Global trade is a complex, politically charged issue that has important implications for the global food system.

Research shows that the global growth of information and telecommunication technologies (ICTs) has resulted in significant development opportunities, especially in rural areas. ICTs can improve households’ agricultural production and profitability, increase job opportunities, and encourage the adoption of healthier practices and more effective risk management techniques.

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