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Global food and agriculture: policy options in response to increased volatility [WP1081]


Future food price volatility was identified in the recently published UK Foresight Report (Foresight: The Future of Food and Farming, 2011) as one of the five key challenges facing the global food system in the coming years. The aim of this conference was to examine the causes of volatility, to reflect on its interconnectivity with issues across and beyond the food system, and to consider the international and national policy responses necessary to mitigate its negative effects.

The conference highlighted new pressures on the global food system and implications for food security. It explored whether the current system is fit for purpose in the 21st century and how more equitable and sustainable outcomes may be achieved.

Sessions addressed: the role of markets and the management of risk, agricultural commodity speculation, export restrictions, farm policies, and international policy options to manage volatility, among others.

It is intended that this discussion feed into the G20 meeting on food security and price volatility in May 2011.

This conference was the first in a series on ‘Agriculture, food and land use: the international policy challenges’ which we will be running over the next 3 years in association with the University of Exeter.

Key points:

  • Is the current world food system fit for purpose in an era of increased price volatility and concern about global food security?
  • How might the negative effects of volatility be mitigated?
  • What international policy measures are required to protect the most vulnerable groups from the consequences of volatility?
  • Should food commodity markets be more regulated? If so, in what ways?
  • How might the WTO framework reflect new global realities?
  • What international policies and regulatory frameworks are appropriate?

Further information

Conference on Feeding the world: are new global agricultural policies needed?

Conference on How to balance food security with sustainability of agricultural production


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