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Beyond the numbers

A review of various economic indicators shows that both the recent food crisis and the financial and economic crisis have had significant negative effects on the Central American countries. The first jolt to the region came in 2007 and mid-2008, while…

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Economics of land degradation

In recent years, prices of agricultural land have increased quickly, actually doubling and tripling in many parts of the world. This land value reassessment has been prompted by rising crop prices and perceived land scarcity. But even as the value of…

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Liberalizing foodgrains markets

South Asia is home to the largest concentration of poor and undernourished people in the world, so food security—especially in basic staples such as wheat, rice, and corn—continues to be a major concern. With both persistent and re-emerging food price…

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Eight years of Doha trade talks

"We commit ourselves to comprehensive negotiations aimed at: substantial improvements in market access; reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support. We agree…

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Local markets, local varieties

There are no easy solutions to the ongoing food price crisis. Maize and wheat prices doubled between 2003 and 2008, and the price of rice doubled in the first four months of 2008, rising 33 percent in a single day. Even with declines in food prices…

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Fertilizer subsidies in Africa

In the 1970s and 1980s, most African countries sold fertilizer at subsidized prices through state-owned enterprises. In response to the fiscal cost and ineffective implementation of these subsidies, as well as pressure from international financial…

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2009 Global Hunger Index: the challenge of hunger

In 2009, high and volatile food prices combined with economic recession posed significant risks to poor and vulnerable households, with often dire consequences for their food security. The 2009 Global Hunger Index (GHI), the fourth in an annual series…

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When speculation matters

The food price crisis of 2007–08 had several causes—rising demand for food, the change in the food equation through biofuels, climate change, high oil prices—but there is substantial evidence that the crisis was made worse by the malfunctioning of…

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Transforming the rural nonfarm economy

Rural residents across the developing world earn a large share of their income—35–50 percent—from nonfarm activities. Agricultural households count on nonfarm earnings to diversify risk, moderate seasonal income swings, and finance agricultural input…

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The potential cost of a failed Doha Round

In times of economic turmoil, countries might decide to increase current tariff rates to protect domestic industries or raise revenues in order to finance domestic programs. Using the highest applied or bound rate imposed by countries from 1995 to…

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