In 2008, a year in which the global population—particularly the world’s poor—was confronted by both the financial and food-price crises, agricultural systems faced changes that led to market disruptions, reduced growth, mass protests, and a string of political efforts to reshape the design and governance of food systems.
At a time when hopes had been high that reductions in poverty and hunger could be achieved in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, developing countries began to suffer severe setbacks. IFPRI sounded an early warning about the magnitude of these crises and quickly adjusted its programs to respond to developments. The Institute also contributed to the search for solutions with additional research-based reports and media outreach; the demand for IFPRI’s research findings increased tremendously.
The rapidly changing global landscape presented both exciting opportunities and new pressures for food security during the past year. The 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, announced that the “food security agenda should focus on agriculture and rural development by promoting sustainable production, productivity, and rural economic growth.” As the connections between security, diplomacy, and development become clearer, research on agriculture, food, and nutrition has received renewed attention in other global policy debates as well.
Through its strategy, its nine research themes, and its communications and capacity-strengthening activities, IFPRI remains at the forefront of these discussions, offering policymakers extensive research on issues as complex as climate change and the global financial and food-price crises. This annual report highlights just a few noteworthy projects per theme; more details on all of IFPRI’s activities can be found at www.ifpri.org/ourwork/programs.