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Symposium 2008

Preventing Food Prices from Creating Poverty and Malnutrition

The Challenge

The recent surge in food prices is causing acute hardship and social unrest around the world. The poor, who spend large shares of their income on food, are most adversely affected. Since rising food prices command a larger share of a limited budget, the poor are forced to shift their expenditures to cheaper diets with less proteins and micronutrients, to reduce their expenditures on investment goods like education and health care, and to compromise on buying insurance against unemployment or on saving for retirement.

As a result, soaring food prices threaten to undo much of the progress developing countries have made in fighting chronic malnutrition and persistent poverty over the past decade, especially among the urban poor. At the same time, higher food prices are boosting the incomes of the producers of food, providing a unique opportunity for promoting agricultural and rural development in many low-income countries.

Which policies are needed to help the most vulnerable people in the short run and to increase agricultural production in the long run?

Which measures can be taken to maximise the benefits of rising food prices for rural smallholders in the developing world? How should agricultural trade policies and subsidy schemes be redesigned to ensure long-term global food security?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2008

    Scale up social protection programs to target cash and food transfers to vulnerable groups over a transition period in the interval before a supply-side response can be expected.

    Scale up social protection programs to target cash and food transfers to vulnerable groups over a transition period in the interval before a supply-side response can be expected.

    Scale up social protection programs to target cash and food transfers to vulnerable groups over a transition period in the interval before a supply-side response can be expected.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2008

    Recalibrate foreign aid to give higher priority to investment in agriculture and social protection.

    Recalibrate foreign aid to give higher priority to investment in agriculture and social protection.

    Recalibrate foreign aid to give higher priority to investment in agriculture and social protection.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2008

    Eliminate policy measures that distort agricultural prices in both developed and developing countries.

    Eliminate policy measures that distort agricultural prices in both developed and developing countries.

    Eliminate policy measures that distort agricultural prices in both developed and developing countries.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2008

    Given the prospect of increased price instability, develop innovative financial instruments – such as a virtual grain reserve bank and global credit facilities – to buffer net food-importing countries from ...

    Given the prospect of increased price instability, develop innovative financial instruments – such as a virtual grain reserve bank and global credit facilities – to buffer net food-importing count ...

    Given the prospect of increased price instability, develop innovative financial instruments – such as a virtual grain reserve bank and global credit facilities – to buffer net food-importing countries from price fluctuations in imported food.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2008

    Invest more money in the development of new crop varieties and the promotion of new technologies to set off a second “green revolution.”

    Invest more money in the development of new crop varieties and the promotion of new technologies to set off a second “green revolution.”

    Invest more money in the development of new crop varieties and the promotion of new technologies to set off a second “green revolution.”

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2008

    Create job and income opportunities, which is a more powerful way of fighting poverty and malnutrition than reducing food prices.

    Create job and income opportunities, which is a more powerful way of fighting poverty and malnutrition than reducing food prices.

    Create job and income opportunities, which is a more powerful way of fighting poverty and malnutrition than reducing food prices.

    Polity, Business

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    The Rice Crisis: What needs to be done?

    Robert S. Zeigler, Director General, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) In early 2008, skyrocketing rice prices put the grain on the front pages of major newspapers across the world. This ba ...

    Robert S. Zeigler, Director General, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) In early 2008, skyrocketing rice prices put the grain on the front pages of major newspapers across the world. This background paper explains the reasons behind the rapid increase in rice prices and what must be done to achieve reliable, plentiful supplies of affordable rice. What happened? The poorest of the world’s poor are the 1.1 billion people with income of less than a dollar a day. Around 700 million—almost two-thirds—of these people live in rice-growing countries of Asia. Poor people spend up to half of their income on rice

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    Statement on Preventing Food Prices from Creating Poverty and Malnutrition

    The complex causes of the current food and agriculture crisis require a comprehensive response. In view of the urgency of assisting people and countries in need, the first set of policy actions - an e ...

    The complex causes of the current food and agriculture crisis require a comprehensive response. In view of the urgency of assisting people and countries in need, the first set of policy actions - an emergency package - consists of steps that can yield immediate impact: expand emergency responses and humanitarian assistance to food-insecure people and people threatening government legitimacy, eliminate agricultural export bans and export restrictions, undertake fast-impact food production programs in key areas with a focus on seeds, fertilizer availability, and credit; change biofuel policies for grains and oilseeds. A second set of actions - a resilience package

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    Preventing Food Prices from Creating Poverty and Malnutrition

    Sharp food price increases will have a damaging impact on poor households' incomes and threaten to increase poverty levels unless governments intervene in a smart way. Governments need to avoid poor p ...

    Sharp food price increases will have a damaging impact on poor households' incomes and threaten to increase poverty levels unless governments intervene in a smart way. Governments need to avoid poor policy choices, such as price controls, export bans, and generalized subsidies and opt instead for targeted income transfers and effective nutrition programs. Both entail fiscal costs, however. The solution that is least damaging to growth prospects involves a large portion of the incremental fiscal cost being borne by donors, implying larger and adaptable budget support as part of ODA and a redirection of expenditures to the poor. A

    Polity
    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    OECD Strategic perspective, based on research of OECD/FAO

    Recent steep price increases of major crops (cereals, oilseeds) were triggered by a combination of production remaining somewhat below trend and strong growth of demand. A low and declining level of s ...

    Recent steep price increases of major crops (cereals, oilseeds) were triggered by a combination of production remaining somewhat below trend and strong growth of demand. A low and declining level of stocks has added to the price rise, as has probably a significant increase in investments in agricultural derivative markets. The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook expects prices to come down again, but not to their historical levels. On average over the coming ten year period, prices in real terms of cereals, rice and oilseeds are projected to be 10% to 35% higher than in the past decade. The acute price hike

    Polity, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    Preventing Food Prices from Creating Poverty and Malnutrition

    How the most vulnerable people can be helped in the short run Social protection programs should be scaled up to target cash and food transfers to vulnerable groups over a transition period where high ...

    How the most vulnerable people can be helped in the short run Social protection programs should be scaled up to target cash and food transfers to vulnerable groups over a transition period where high food prices prevail in the absence of a substantial supply response. Such a policy interventions appears to be justified to prevent even larger future welfare losses that are likely to result from a decline in investment in education and health. To reduce the devastating long-term effects of malnutrition during childhood, school feeding should be introduced more widely, especially in the countries where the largest share of

    Polity, Academia, Business