Feeding a growing world population, likely to reach 9 billion by 2050, poses an unprecedented challenge to human ingenuity. How to satisfy the demand for food by the some 8 billion people who will live in the developing world is a particularly pressing food security question. Even in the best of circumstances, sustainably satisfying the increased demand for crops and livestock by these people will be an enormous challenge. The negative consequences of climate change on food production make meeting these food requirements even more daunting.
Nutrition has been gaining momentum as an important issue in high-level global development debates. Dr. David Nabarro of the UN High Level Task Force on the Food Security Crisis recently shared his views on how human nutrition is being prioritized, addressed, resourced, and assessed by different groups of stakeholders at global, regional, and national levels. At the 20th Annual Martin J. Forman Memorial Lecture, held on November 4 at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, Dr.
Apparent similarities between today’s rising wheat prices and the food-price crisis of 2007-2008 are just that: apparent, not real. Suggestions to the contrary serve to drive up prices and hurt poor people, who spend much or most of their incomes on food. They need neither jittery markets nor ad hoc protectionism, which has exacerbated past food crises.
Recent events in Russia, one of the largest suppliers of wheat in the world, have raised concern about the current and future price of wheat and wheat-based products. This article briefly examines the issue and determines if there is in fact cause for serious alarm.
Summary of Facts
Emergency food reserves, or strategic reserves, have received considerable attention since the 2007-08 food crisis. Since that time, many countries have either established new strategic reserve programs or scaled up their existing programs by increasing stock levels. The rationale behind these policies is that, with increasing international food price volatility, governments must be prepared to protect their most vulnerable populations from food price shocks, declining purchasing power, and famine.