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Country responses to the food security crisis:Nature and preliminary implications of the policies pursued

FAO Initiative on Soaring Food Prices







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    Initiative on Soaring Food Prices. Country Responses to the Food Security Crisis: Nature and Preliminary Implications of the Policies Pursued 2009
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    The report intends to examine the short-term measures adopted by some 81 countries and is intended for policy makers and analysts. Prices of staple foods, such as rice and vegetable oil, have doubled between January and May 2008. High food prices together with record petroleum and fertilizer prices have spurred inflation. Poorer households with a larger share of food in their total expenditures are suffering the most from high food prices, due to the erosion of purchasing power, which has a negative impact on food security, nutrition and access to school and health services. Higher prices also result in pressure on public expenditures which undermines funding of programmes aiming at alleviating poverty or meeting MDG targets. A series of immediate short-term policy measures have been implemented by countries in response to respond to rising food prices. These responses can be categorized in three groups: - Trade-related measures; - Consumers-related measures; and, - Producers-related measures.
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    Country Response to the Food Security Crisis: Nature and Preliminary Implications of the Policies Pursued
    Initiative on Soaring Food Prices
    2009
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    The objective of this paper is to examine the short-term measures adopted by some 81 countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean and assess their implications for food security and poverty alleviation. Section 2 reviews market and trade measures aimed at reducing food prices for consumers. Safety net and production support measures are discussed in sections 3 and 4, while section 5 discusses the impact of the different measures. Finally, concluding remarks are given in sectio n 6.
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    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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