Global Foodies by

Global Foodies / Published November 25, 2015 by Lilliam Salazar

Lilliam Salazar

Global Foodies

The food and economic crises of recent years are challenging
our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development
Goal of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from
hunger by half by 2015. This edition of The State of Food
Insecurity in the World focuses on food price volatility and
high food prices, which are likely to continue in the years
ahead. Indeed, the Group of Twenty (G20) Finance
Ministers and Central Bank Governors has become actively
engaged in finding cost-effective ways to reduce price
volatility and mitigate its effects when it does occur. By
using previously unavailable data sources and studies, this
report goes beyond the global-scale analyses to find out
what happened on the domestic markets where poor
people buy and sell their food in order to draw policyrelevant
lessons from the world food crisis of 2006–08.

High food prices worsen food insecurity in the
short term. The benefits go primarily to farmers with
access to sufficient land and other resources, while the
poorest of the poor buy more food than they produce.
In addition to harming the urban poor, high food
prices also hurt many of the rural poor, who are
typically net food buyers. The diversity of impacts
within countries also points to a need for improved
data and policy analysis.

A food-security strategy that relies on a combination
of increased productivity in agriculture,
greater policy predictability and general
openness to trade will be more effective than
other strategies. Restrictive trade policies can protect
domestic prices from world market volatility, but these
policies can also result in increased domestic price volatility as a result of domestic supply shocks,
especially if government policies are unpredictable and
erratic. Government policies that are more predictable
and that promote participation by the private sector in
trade will generally decrease price volatility.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 highlights the
differential impacts that the world food crisis of 2006-08 had on
different countries, with the poorest being most affected. While
some large countries were able to deal with the worst of the crisis,
people in many small import-dependent countries experienced
large price increases that, even when only temporary, can have
permanent effects on their future earnings capacity and ability to
escape poverty.