Selected Library resources on the food crisis and agricultural policy

According to Oxfam UK (2011), “Poor people in developing countries spend up to 80% of their income on food.” This makes the impact of food price changes extremely devastating for the developing world. The global food crisis of 2008, which intensified during the global financial crisis, received widespread media attention as it sparked riots and famine. However, the global movement of food prices creates a problem that has been in the making for many years.
This Library Note collects references to recent articles that look at the food crisis from two major angles: one that describes the issues and analyzes them in their complexity; and those that propose solutions and explain their effectiveness.

When it comes to agricultural trade, developing countries are trapped in a vicious cycle. Although it is widely held that agricultural trade can contribute to developing nations’ food security and economic growth, it is precisely these countries that experience difficulties due to tariffs and due to underdeveloped trade-related infrastructure, causing them to have lower exports. Trade of these regions is also affected by their political stability.

Other important factors that sustain the food crisis include an increasing feedstock demand from the biofuel industry – also tied to high oil prices, an increased demand for food as incomes rise in emerging economies, a rising population, and historically low global harvests for some products due to natural disasters.

Around 2005 crop and livestock production fell globally due to animal disease outbreaks, such as the bird flu. Food prices started to rise, with the exception of cereals. After the 2006-2008 and 2010-2011 sudden increase in food prices it became clear that this was an important cause for widespread concern. In the case of certain crops, the decrease in price also led to difficulties, because it encouraged using crops in the biofuel industry, as opposed to dedicating them to sustain the food supply.
Policy makers in various organisations across the globe are making attempts at curbing the food crisis. Responses included market interventions to limit the rise in food prices, market interventions to control inflation, assistance to consumers through safety nets, and support to producers. One study suggests that certain social processes also help contain the crisis in poverty-stricken regions, such as urbanization, which can bring increased demand for agricultural products for the surrounding rural areas.
The 1996 Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit pledged to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015. By 2003-2005, this figure had remained stubbornly high, an estimated 848 million.

DESCRIBING THE CRISIS, ANALYSING THE COMPLEXITY

Moïsé, E., et al. (2013), “Estimating the Constraints to Agricultural Trade of Developing Countries”. OECD Trade Policy Papers, No. 142, OECD Publishing.
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Yach D. (2012), Food Politics: The Global View. Public Administration Review. March 1, 2012;72(2):309-311.
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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2008-2017
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von Braun, J. (2008), High and Rising Food Prices – Why Are They Rising, Who Is Affected, How Are They Affected, and What Should Be Done? International Food Policy Research Institute.
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IFPRI (2008). New Global Hunger Index. International Food Policy Research Institute.
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Holmén, H. (2006). Myths about Agriculture, Obstacles to Solving the African Food Crisis. The European Journal Of Development Research, 18(3), 453-480.
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Hartwig, R. & Grimm, M. (2012). An Assessment of the Effects of the 2002 Food Crisis on Childrens Health in Malawi. Journal Of African Economies, 21(1), 124.
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Ivanic, M. & Martin, W. 2010. “The Food Price Crisis, Poverty and Agricultural Trade Policy.” In Food Crises and the WTO: World Trade Forum, ed. Baris Karapinar and Christian Häberli. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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Headey, D. 2013. The impact of the global food crisis on self-assessed food security. Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6329. Washington D.C. – The World Bank.
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Cali, M. & Menon, C. 2013. Does urbanization affect rural poverty? Evidence from Indian districts. Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 6338. Washington D.C. – The World Bank.
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SUGGESTING AND EVALUATING THE VARIOUS POLICY RESPONSES

OECD (2012), “Evaluation of developments in agricultural policy and support”. OECD, Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2012: OECD Countries, OECD Publishing.
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Jones, D. and A. Kwiecinski (2010), “Policy Responses in Emerging Economies to International Agricultural Commodity Price Surges”. OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 34, OECD Publishing.
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OECD (2012), Agricultural Policies for Poverty Reduction: A Synthesis, OECD Publishing.
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Abbott, P. (2009), “Development Dimensions of High Food Prices”. OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 18, OECD Publishing.
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Maetz, M., et al. (2011), “Food and agricultural policy trends after the 2008 food security crisis: renewed attention to agricultural development”. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
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Cribb, J. The coming famine : the global food crisis and what we can do to avoid it. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010.
available at the Library

Schoenbaum, T. J. (2011). Fashioning a New Regime for Agricultural Trade: New Issues and the Global Food Crisis. Journal Of International Economic Law.
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Swinnen, J. M., Squicciarini, P., & Vandemoortele, T. (2011). The food crisis, mass media and the political economy of policy analysis and communication. European Review Of Agricultural Economics, 38(3), 409.
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Boccanfuso, D., & Savard, L. (2011). The Food Crisis and its Impacts on Poverty in Senegal and Mali: Crossed Destinies. Development Policy Review, 29(2), 211-247.
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Rao, V. M. (2009). Rain-fed agriculture : in the throes of a crisis. The Indian economic journal. New Delhi: Academic Foundation. Vol. 57.2009, 2, p. 38-62.
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