Introduction from the Chairman of the Board of Trustees
In 2011, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) worked to achieve its mission to provide policy solutions to poverty, hunger, and malnutrition and saw its evidence-based research influence programs, plans, and policies worldwide.
IFPRI’s research results on trade and bioenergy contributed a great deal to the 2011 G20 meeting, and the Institute continues to play a central role in the implementation of the Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS) proposed in a previous G20 annual meeting. A wide range of IFPRI research was taken into account by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the Foundation revised its agricultural development strategy in early 2011. The Institute was also credited as contributing to the parliamentary approval of national biosafety laws in Nigeria and official passage of biosafety legislation in Ghana and Kenya. And, finally, IFPRI organized a successful international conference on leveraging agriculture for improving nutrition and health, which was hosted in New Delhi, India, and attended by more than 1,000 leading experts and practitioners. The outcomes of the conference helped to develop the new, IFPRI-led CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health. In addition to this program, IFPRI also leads the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets.
According to the 2011 rankings of “Research Papers in Economics,” the main international website used for ranking social science research, IFPRI is among the top one percent of all institutions dealing with development economics research. The Institute’s research-based postings have found an increasing audience through social media outlets: IFPRI’s followers on Twitter more than doubled and those on Facebook increased by more than 75 percent.
In my second year as the chair of IFPRI’s Board of Trustees, I have seen the Institute flourish. I also recognize the contributions of my fellow Board members, who played a pivotal role advising IFPRI about the CGIAR reforms and the launching of the two CGIAR Research Programs it will lead. The Board also provided key inputs into the process of modifying IFPRI’s long-term strategy. I certainly look forward to another productive year in 2012 as IFPRI continues its innovative research and begins to fully implement its two major CGIAR research programs.
Introduction from the Director General
IFPRI has worked consistently to produce state-of-the-art research on policy options to reduce hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. The Institute’s strong performance this past year highlighted its ability to respond quickly to critical food security issues and help developing countries build their own capacity to address the needs of their poor and vulnerable citizens.
IFPRI played a key role in the global response to many acute food security issues in 2011. In August, the Institute hosted US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who delivered a public address on the crisis in the Horn of Africa and called upon IFPRI and other research organizations to provide policymakers with informed recommendations on how to avoid similar crises in the future. The G20 incorporated the Institute’s research on trade, grain reserves, and bioenergy, and a new tool called the Excessive Food Price Variability Early Warning System into its action plan on food price volatility and agriculture. This work will pave the way for preventative, rather than reactive, responses to food price volatility. IFPRI also facilitated roundtable discussions and technical reviews in support of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which, to date, has resulted in 28 Sub-Saharan African countries signing agreements to increase their public spending on agriculture. In addition, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, IFPRI researchers made recommendations on how research should be developed to address agricultural vulnerability to climate change.
IFPRI greatly expanded its outreach in 2011. The West and Central Africa Office, based in Senegal, officially opened in the summer and has been a solid resource in the CAADP implementation process, among other activities. Vitamin-A biofortified orange sweet potato showed impressive adoption rates in Mozambique and Uganda, resulting in the scaling up of biofortification activities in many African countries. IFPRI initiated a country strategy support program in Pakistan to help promote agricultural transformation for food security, poverty reduction, and overall economic growth in the country. Research was undertaken as part of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia on new resource-conserving technologies as well as cereal supply-and-demand projections to 2030. A typology of rural micro-regions that helps policymakers prioritize public investments in the poorest regions of their countries was developed for five Latin American countries and will be used by the government of Peru in its strategic plan for food security. IFPRI also greatly furthered its work in the Middle East and North Africa with publications focused on poverty reduction and food security in the Arab world, a new project on vulnerability to conflict, and a major international conference in Beirut, Lebanon.
The Institute produced more than 300 peer-reviewed publications in 2011 and received coverage in more than 1,200 media stories in the New York Times, China Daily, Economic Times of India, and Financial Times, among other outlets. Our budget increased substantially, and we hired more than 100 people in the past year to meet stakeholder demands and exceed their expectations—all within the context of a changing CGIAR. The newly initiated CGIAR Research Programs signal an era of deeper collaboration and interdisciplinary research among the CGIAR centers and their many partners. IFPRI leads two of these programs: (1) Policies, Institutions and Markets and (2) Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health. Both build on the Institute’s strong research record in order to strengthen its on-the-ground presence in developing countries.
I am confident that IFPRI has the right tools and commitment to tackle even the most complex food security challenges and an important role to play as a global hub of food policy learning and innovation.