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The Breakdown of the Doha Round Negotiations – What Does it Mean for Dealing with Soaring Food Prices?








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    Book (stand-alone)
    The 2007 - 2008 food price swing - Impact and policies in Eastern and Southern Africa
    Fao Commodities and Trade Technical Paper 12
    2009
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    Between 2007 and 2008, the world experienced a dramatic swing in commodity prices. Food commodity prices also increased substantially during the summer of 2008, reaching their highest level in nearly thirty years, before decreasing sharply as expectations for an economic recession set in. Eastern and Southern African countries experienced considerable difficulties due to the price food swing. The food price boom resulted in increased poverty and significant food security problems as households struggled to meet the high cost of food. At the macroeconomic level, high food import bills, inflation and foreign exchange constraints increased the fragility of developing and less developed countries. Although the ensuing world economic recession did lead to a drop in food prices, it carried with it a different set of problems. The decline in exports due to weak demand, decreased foreign investment and migrant remittances, as well as high unemployment all added to the b urden of already vulnerable African countries. Policy reactions to the food price surge have been prompt in many developing countries. A number of short-run measures in order to rein in the increase in food prices and to protect consumers and vulnerable population groups were introduced, such as reductions in import tariffs. Other countries resorted to food inventory management aimed at stabilizing domestic prices. A range of interventions have also been implemented to mitigate the a dverse impacts on vulnerable households, such as targeted subsidized food sales. Other countries scaled-up already existing input subsidy programs to assist producers and stimulate supply response as fertilizer prices also soared.
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    FAO Fact Sheets: Input for the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancún 2003
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    For the WTO Ministerial meeting in Cancún, Mexico, FAO has produced fifteen briefings on trade issues critical to developing countries in the current negotiations. Their purpose is to provide basic facts and issues relating to agriculture, fisheries and forestry. They cover facts and issues especially important for Least Developing Countries (LDC) and Net Food Importing Developing Countries (NFIDC), but also for other Developing Countries for which exports in these sectors are critical to their economies. Issues covered include the increasing food-import reliance of many developing countries, the growth of food imports and food import bills, special safeguard provisions and import surges and identifying special products for differential treatment in the trade agreement. The issues include those which concern exports, such as tariff escalation and tariff preferences, non-tariff trade barriers, as well as the importance of certain export products such as fruits and vegetables, cotton, a nd sugar. The fact sheets also outline special agricultural concerns in respect of trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS). Key words: tariff, tariff preferences, tariff escalation, import bills, non-tariff barriers, TRIPS, special safeguards, developing countries, Least Developed Countries, Net Food Importing Developing Countries, WTO, Doha Development Round, Cancun Ministerial, Sugar, Cotton, Fruits and Vegetables, agricultural trade.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Lessons Learning Exercise from FAO’s Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP)
    (TCP/NEP/3202 and OSRO/NEP/806/Cha)
    2010
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    In 2008, food prices reached their highest level in real terms in thirty years. This provoked social unrest, leading, in many cases, to short-sighted policy responses from governments, which further exacerbated instability in world markets. In response to the food crisis, FAO launched its Initiative on Soaring Food Prices in 2007. In 2008, it assisted member countries to put in place measures to rapidly boost production in the following agricultural seasons and to provide policy support to improve food access and reduce food insecurity in the most affected countries. The food price crisis hit hard the most vulnerable populations and as such required an immediate response. The ISFP focus was on the short term and the nature and the number of activities proposed were determined by this time frame. However, these interventions provided the basis for longer-term sustainable development of the sector. Learning from the support provided by FAO through the ISFP is vitally important, especially now that donors continue to show a special interest in short-term interventions to address food security issues. This new context represents a challenge for FAO and requires reflection on how best to respond quickly but in a sustainable way to underlying causes of food insecurity, as well as how to merge the efforts and different expertise of emergency and technical experts. Nepal was selected among the ISFP beneficiary countries for the first lessons learning exe rcise. The objective of this study was to show how this type of support could be improved and to highlight the strengths and best practices that could be replicated in the future. It looked at how ISFP activities in Nepal were implemented and how the expected outcomes had been achieved or not, rather than at the products/activities itself. The focus was on how ISFP programmes in Nepal were perceived by the different stakeholders involved as well as their experiences. The study’s main a ctivity was field work: direct and personal contact with people in the programme in their own environment.

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