Although food security has long been recognized as a universal human right, 795 million people worldwide remain undernourished. International trade can contribute to reducing such food insecurity, but the precise role that international trade policy should play in improving food and nutrition security remains the subject of a long-standing and intense debate. Many argue that countries must pursue the goal of food self-sufficiency to secure local production of agricultural items and local populations’ access to food. Food self-sufficiency implies import restrictions to support local production. Others argue that the best way to secure populations’ access to food is to remove all barriers to trade. In this line of thinking, free trade will more effectively increase the global production of agricultural and food products and secure the cheapest access to these items.
The new IFPRI book Agriculture, Development, and the Global Trading System: 2000–2015 launched last week is devoted to the complex relationship between the global trading system and food security. The contributors focus on two important elements of the relationship between the trading system and food security: (1) the Doha Development Agenda of the World Trade Organization (WTO); and (2) whether food price volatility can be managed through trade instruments. They then offer policy recommendations for how the global trading system can foster food security in the future.
Bouët, Antoine, ed.; and Laborde Debucquet, David, ed. 2017. Agriculture, development, and the global trading system: 2000 – 2015. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). https://doi.org/10.2499/9780896292499
This book was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by IFPRI (under PIM's research flagship 3: Inclusive and Efficient Value Chains). Funding support for this study was provided by the European Union’s Seventh Framework program FP7/2007–2011 under Grant Agreement number 290693 FOODSECURE—Exploring the Future of Global Food and Nutrition Security and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets.