Reexamining Policies for Food Security

Publication | February 2012

In the wake of recent food price spikes, plus growing demands for food in emerging Asia and for biofuels in Europe and the United States, governments are reexamining their strategies for dealing with both short-term and long-term food security concerns. This paper argues that long-run trends in real agricultural prices have policy implications for food security that are at least as important as those related to short-lived spikes around trend prices. The paper therefore summarizes recent projections of markets to 2030 under various scenarios, and then reviews evidence on how trade policy restrictions typically are altered to insulate domestic markets from short-run fluctuations in international prices around their long-run trends. That provides a firm empirical basis for reexamining the effectiveness and efficiency of various policy options for ensuring food security in Asia and elsewhere. Those options include boosting agricultural productivity growth rates to deal with long-run concerns, and using more appropriate domestic policy measures rather than trade policies to cope with price volatility.

Contents 

  • Introduction
  • Global Long-Term Modeling Methodology, Database, and Core Projection to 2030
  • Alternative Policy and Climate Scenarios by 2030
  • Trade Policy Responses to Short-Term Food Security Concerns with Volatile Prices
  • Policy Options and Implications
  • Appendixes
  • References