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Why export restrictions should not be a response to COVID-19: Learning lessons from experience with rice in Asia and the Pacific











FAO. 2020. Why export restrictions should not be a response to COVID-19:  Learning lessons from experience with rice in Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok.



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    COVID-19 has resulted in a shock to agrifood systems around the world, with the potential for low- and middle-income countries to be particularly affected. Although policy responses were more muted than during the 2007–2008 world food crisis, efforts to insulate from supply shocks and ensure local availability during COVID-19 have generally included export restrictions and import tariff reductions, among other responses. In an effort to enable rapid market monitoring and realignment, we develop a new indicator defined as a monthly nominal rate of protection “express” which seeks to isolate as much as possible the effect of trade and market policies on domestic prices in real-time in order to understand how they responded. This analysis examines changes to this indicator during the first wave of the pandemic in 27 low- and middle-income countries for the most-consumed staple cereals of the poor and food insecure. We show that agricultural price incentives declined by 12.6 percentage points compared to the same months in previous years, suggesting that retail domestic price spikes may have largely been mitigated or avoided. However, impacts varied across countries and commodities, and this indicator can serve as a tool for examining primary drivers of changes and conducting causal analysis to facilitate adequate agrifood policy responses to support economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era.
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    Addressing high food prices: A synthesis report of FAO policy consultations at regional and subregional level 2011
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    The 2007-2008 food price crisis happened at a time when global food stocks were at their lowest level in decades. From 1960 to 2000, the growth rate of cereal yields had dropped by half, a by-product of 30 years of underinvestment in agriculture and general neglect of the sector. During the 2007-2008 food price crisis, some governments acted in haste, imposing export restrictions or engaging in panic buying and hoarding, which disrupted world markets and made an already difficult situation wo rse. In January 2011, as food prices soared for the second time in just four years, FAO, through its Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP), published an updated guide to assist policy makers in developing countries to address high food prices. To help countries draw on lessons learned from the 2007/2008 food price crisis and to ensure wider distribution and use of this guide, FAO decided to organize a series of two-day policy consultations throughout all the regions and subregio ns during 2011. The idea was to bring high-level government officials, key national and international stakeholders and development partners together in one forum to discuss the issues, share experiences and begin a process of mapping out sound policy measures to address high food prices. This report is a synthesis of the policy consultations held from March until October 2011.
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    Newsletter
    Rice Market Monitor - March 2006 2006
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    2005 was a record breaking year for the world rice economy. For the third consecutive season, global paddy production experienced a brisk expansion, which lifted it to an all time high of 628 million tonnes. Growth reflected relatively favourable weather conditions in Asia, western Africa and South America and the positive effects of high prices in 2004, which had fostered a general increase in plantings. Tight domestic supplies in a number of countries confronted with production shortfalls in 2004 prompted a surge of global imports in calendar 2005 to a record volume of 29.0 million tonnes. The expansion in trade in 2005 took place despite relatively tight export availabilities in Thailand and China (mainland), as reduced sales from these countries were more than compensated by increased shipments from the other major exporting countries, in particular India, Pakistan and Viet Nam.

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