World at Risk for Devastating Food Crisis

Thursday, January 19, 2012
By Paul Martin
January 18th, 2012

nstitute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

While the 2007-08 food price crisis has been a catalyst for important policy reforms, governments have yet to address its underlying causes, finds a new report from IATP and the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University. In the report, authors Timothy A. Wise and Sophia Murphy warn that the international community is avoiding deeper structural reforms, leaving the world at risk of another devastating spike in global food prices.

The report, “Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007,” is based on a comprehensive assessment of the policies and actions taken since 2007 by four international groups of actors: the U.N., the G-20, the World Bank and international donors. The authors document the welcome renewal of attention to agricultural development and to the contributions of small-scale farmers and women. But they warn that policy reforms fall well short of what is needed to meet the world’s current and future food needs in a sustainable way. Wise and Murphy put the onus on rich-country governments to take responsibility for their agricultural policies that are contributing to the fragility and volatility in food systems around the world and to support the renewed interest in many developing countries to increase agricultural development and reduce dependence on food imports.

Wise and Murphy call for urgent attention to three issues:

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