Food and Water Safety

Outcome Statement

Although relatively new, the Food and Water Safety program at IFPRI has helped increase awareness about how issues related to food and water safety affect the world’s poor. It has also helped shape the agenda for future research on the subject. A paper entitled “Food Safety Research in the CGIAR: Report and Recommendations arising from a joint IFPRI-Science Council-sponsored Roundtable on possible approaches to Food Safety Research in the CGIAR” provides guidance for the development of Framework Plans for food safety research particularly in the CGIAR in the future and mainstream research on food safety issues.

Another project aimed at identifying technical barriers limiting agricultural trade focused on avocados in Mexico and fresh apples in China. The findings from the avocado study confirmed the welfare enhancing effects of replacing an import ban with a systems approach to risk management. Some modifications of the required measures adopted by the U.S. would increase net welfare gains given estimated risk probabilities, but complete elimination of the systems approach measures could results in lower welfare than the rules in place due to increased pest-related losses. The basic model developed in this research for avocados was utilized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the economic analysis in the final regulation opening the U.S. avocado market in 2004. By 2007, avocado exports to the United States from the Uruapan area of the state of Michoacán exceeded $100 million, bringing substantial employment and income to this part of western Mexico.

Furthermore, a research study on Avian Influenza compensation in developing countries was commissioned to help with the establishment of new disease control programs using compensation as a mechanism by the World Bank for the United Nations System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC). The recommendations have been endorsed by more than 72 countries around the world as they go forward establishing their own compensation schemes proactively prior to having HPAI outbreaks.

In addition, the study on the impact of potential outbreak of Avian Influenza in Latin America was used by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) as an input to define its Regional Action Plan to financially support animal health services in Latin American and Caribbean countries. The study is being used also by IADB to increase awareness about the possible impacts of the disease in the region and the need to invest in animal health services. All of these cases demonstrate the use of our research results to aid in the design of policies and actual decision making.

Finally, a study of Mahagrapes in India addressed the sanitary and phytosanitary requirements in grape exports from India. The findings showed that having a domestic market outlet for safer food could not only increase farm incomes but could also act as a cushion against shocks in export markets. The results from the project provided evidence that significant demand for safer food existed in Indian urban markets conditional on provision of credible information to consumers guaranteeing food safety. In hypothetical experiments also premium in terms of willingness to pay was estimated to be over 25%. The findings were used by the Planning Commission in India to motivate public private partnership in their report. These findings were also presented in a multi stakeholder workshop which stimulated the discussion among agri-businessmen and policy makers on ways to best organize agri-food supply chains so that they contribute directly to increasing farmers’ income and rural employment.