Economics plays a crucial role in food security. Efficient agricultural markets and trade can encourage agriculture-led economic growth in developing countries, but efforts to move toward a market-oriented economy are often hampered by ineffective policies, weak institutions and inadequate infrastructure.
How can this be remedied? By making markets efficient and inclusive. To that end, IFPRI research into changing trade patterns, uneven economic growth, and globalization focuses on market failures and how to correct them, as well as how to remove constraints to market access and enhance the benefits from market participation for small farm-holders. Further areas of attention include managing risk, enabling collective action and prioritizing public investments.
Market shocks can appear at any given moment and threaten food security. As such, IFPRI looks at such underlying factors as volatile food prices and financial crises. In stable market environments, research helps to design new institutional mechanisms that can provide smallholders with access to them, giving particular attention to overcoming gender-related barriers.
The impact is huge, because ensuring that farmers enjoy access to dynamic markets at all levels will ultimately help to ease constraints for investment, diversify income-generating activities, and boost the livelihoods of the poor.
This brief uses recent data to explore food price volatility over time in international and African markets.
Experience to date and assessment of Doha proposals
IA of IFPRI's work on the agriculture negotiations in the WTO's Doha Round