Available data suggest that more than 700 million people in the developing world lack the food necessary for an active and healthy life. The problem of food security is not caused by an insufficient supply of food as has been commonly believed, but by the lack of purchasing power on the part of nations and households. This report outlines the nature and extent of food security problems in developing countries, explores the policy options available to these countries in addressing these problems, and indicates what international institutions such as the World Bank can and should do to help countries solve their food security problems. It suggests policies to achieve the desired goal in cost-effective ways. It also identifies policies that waste economic resources and fail to reach the target groups. It is in that sense as much about what should not be done as about what should be done.

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