Thursday, 24 April 2008

Briefing paper on the causes of rising food prices

The latest briefing paper of ODI (Arpil 2008) examines the causes of rising food prices, expected trends, the likely impact, and possible policy responses.

Uncertainty and controversy surround technical agricultural advances. Most agricultural research is by companies that may not prioritise boosting outputs of food grains. Biotechnology promises much, but has delivered relatively little for staple food production. That may change with higher prices for grains and it seems that marker-assisted selection is leading to rising grain yields. Higher orices may make countries more inclined to introduce genetically modified organisms. Furthermore, how much can output be raised given limited land and water, and anxieties over conservation and pollution?
ODI Briefing Paper April 2008 Rising food prices: A global crisis. Action needed now to avert poverty and hunger
SciDev 14/04 West Africa to boost food crops with biotechnology
The 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States have agreed to use biotechnology to increase food production in the region. Ministers of agriculture, environment, science and technology met to discuss the issues surrounding biotechnology in agriculture at a meeting held last week (28–30 March) in Accra, Ghana.