Answers to the food crisis
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has published three essays addressing the global food crisis.
Joachim von Braun, director-general of IFPRI, discusses high priority policy responses including: expanding emergency responses and humanitarian aid; freezing biofuel production; eradicating export bans and investing in rural infrastructure and agricultural research. These changes must be incorporated on a global scale, von Braun says, possibly led by the UN and major groups of developing country players.
Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), discusses WFP activities, including their food-for-assets programme used to train local populations, school feeding for around 20 million children and disaster-preparedness activities including canal-building and river bed restoration. Sheeran calls for more agricultural research and higher investment across the value chain.
Namanga Ngongi, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, discusses the policy implications of high food prices for Africa. Policies are needed, he says, to create sustainable food production driven by advances in productivity rather than by expansion of cultivated area.
He calls for focused plant-breeding efforts on staple food crops that include training for plant breeders. He highlights the need for better fertiliser procurement practices and increased African fertiliser production, and calls for an improvement in both financial services and infrastructure.
"The new policies must remove constraints that impede access by smallholder farmers to the knowledge, technology and financial services they need to increase farm productivity in a profitable and environmentally sustainable manner."