This review article, published in the African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development, considers how policy interventions can protect vulnerable African nations from the increasing nutrition insecurity caused by the global economic crisis.

The author, Suresh Babu from the International Food Policy Research Institute, argues that the global recession has reduced foreign investment in, and demand for exports from, developing countries.

This has resulted in unstable commodity prices, lower earnings and reduced access to food, forcing people to adopt cheaper and less balanced diets that lead to higher levels of malnutrition.

Babu reviews past crises, including Indonesia in the aftermath of El Niño in 1997, to build a framework of potential policy interventions.

In the short-term, this includes subsidising fertilisers, distributing nutrition supplements and providing income support. In the medium to long-term, social safety net programmes, investment in research, and institution building are needed, says Babu.