Highlights from Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development
Spielman, D. and Pandya-Lorch, R. IFPRI. 2009.
Learning from successes in agricultural development is now more urgent than ever. Progress in feeding the world’s billions has slowed, while the challenge of meeting future food needs remains enormous and is subject to new uncertainties in the global food and agricultural systems. In the late 1950s around a billion people were estimated to go hungry every day. Scientists, policymakers, farmers, and ordinary people initiated a concerted push to boost agricultural production and productivity in developing countries. Great strides were also made in improving the quality of food and the ability of vulnerable people to access food needed for survival. All these efforts have done more than just feed millions. They have also demonstrated that agriculture can be a key driver of growth and development for many of the world’s poorest countries.

Local Markets, Local Varieties: Rising Food Prices and Small Farmers' Access to Seed
Melinda Smale, Marc J. Cohen, and Latha Nagarajan. IFPRI. 2009.

There are no easy solutions to the ongoing food price crisis. Maize and wheat prices doubled between 2003 and 2008, and the price of rice doubled in the first four months of 2008, rising 33 percent in a single day. Even with declines in food prices later in 2008, prices remain well above 2000–2005 levels. To address the complex causes of this phenomenon, IFPRI has recommended a combination of “emergency” and “resilience” actions. One of the proposed policies emphasizes the need to boost agricultural production. This “emergency” agriculture package requires carefully targeted subsidies to ensure increases in production of major foodcrops (rice, wheat, and maize) in favorable environments with good soils, moisture, and market infrastructure. Following the Green Revolution model, delivery of improved varieties of seed, fertilizers, and other inputs, along with targeted, short-term subsidies, would augment production through higher yields rather than area expansion, so that scarce land can be reserved for other crops and uses….READ FULL REPORT

Investing in Agriculture to Overcome the World Food Crisis and Reduce Poverty and Hunger
Shenggen Fan and Mark W. Rosegrant. IFPRI. 2008.

In many parts of the world, increased agricultural growth will play a key role in addressing the current world food crisis, in contributing to overall economic growth, and in helping to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of poor and hungry people by 2015 (MDG1). The challenge of meeting MDG1 under the current circumstances is considerable, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)...

The State of Food and Agriculture - Biofuels: Prospects, Risks and Opportunities
FAO. 2008.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2008 explores the implications of the recent rapid growth in production of biofuels based on agricultural commodities. The boom in liquid biofuels has been largely driven by policies in developed countries in support of climate-change mitigation, energy security and agricultural development. The growing demand for agricultural commodities for the production of biofuels is having significant repercussions on agricultural markets, and concerns are mounting over their negative impact on the food security of millions of people across the world. At the same time, the environmental impacts of biofuels are also coming under closer scrutiny. But biofuels also offer the opportunity for agricultural and rural development — if appropriate policies and investments are put in place.

Agriculture for Sustainable Economic Development: A Global R&D Initiative to Avoid a Deep and Complex Crisis.
Joachim von Braun. IFPRI. 2008.
World agriculture has entered a new, unsustainable, and politically risky period. Agriculture—and the natural resources it depends on—has been overexploited ecologically, has suffered from underinvestment, has recently been exposed to ill-designed bio-energy programs, and has been politically sidelined for too long. It is now at a critical point. Appropriate responses to the food and agriculture price and productivity crises are lacking. A global initiative for accelerated agriculture productivity is necessary now; such an initiative makes economic sense, is pro-poor and sustainable, and serves security. The initiative needs political leadership and coordination. There is no effective governance architecture at the global level and national levels to address the matter. Industrialized economies, including the United States, should substantially accelerate their investment in international agricultural research and development (R&D) in cooperation with new players.