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Price spikes and world food security. The need for change

This paper is part of a series of policy briefs produced by CIRAD. It discusses food price increases in international markets. The author stresses the need to analyse the recent evolutions of food prices from a broader perspective than that of volatility alone. There is a certain level of volatility inherent in agriculture product prices. But since 2005, a steady upward trend in food prices has been observed resulting in both higher prices and increasing volatility. Several actions are proposed at the national and international levels:

  • basing the rules of international trade on food security,
  • sharing storage between countries and coordinating national stocks at the international level,
  • investing in the transition towards agriculture
  • limiting growth in demand for agricultural products

The author highlights the need for reconsidering the frameworks of analysis and the means of collective action. At the international level, the Committee on World Food Security could play a central role to coordinate discussions on trade, social and technical issues (which are currently dealt with in a fragmented manner within specialised institutions). At the national and local levels, discussions must also take place on the models of consumption and types of agriculture chosen, with a clear focus on food security issues.

 Benoît Daviron, Perspective n° 15 - April 2012

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29 January 2013

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