Why Farming Subsidies Still Distort Advantages and Cause Food Insecurity Jayati Ghosh

For developing countries, it seems, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite all the talk of global power shifts and the rise of emerging economies, the run-up to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting in Bali next week has once again forced developing countries on to the back foot despite having reason and ethics on their side. The recent inability to close a deal in Geneva before the talks reflects the intransigence of some governments – the US in particular – in the face of what seem to be fairly commonsense and fair proposals to…

SPS Measures and Possible Market Access Implications for Agricultural Trade in the Doha Round: An analysis of systemic issues Murali Kallummal

As the Doha Round seeks to address tariff liberalization issues alone, the huge imbalance in the market access outcome for developing country exporters will remain because of the increasing use of non-tariff barriers such as SPS measures. Based on an analysis of the SPS notifications made by WTO Member countries during 1995-2010, this paper argues that the adoption of differing national standards as well as systemic issues in the SPS Agreement and its implementation, bias its outcome against developing and least developed countries. Doha_Round (Download the full text in PDF format) (This is the modified version of a paper that…

Preventing Hunger: Change economic policy Peter Rosset

At the global scale, hunger is not a result of insufficient food production, but fallout of the neoliberal economic policies of liberalizing trade in food commodities and speculative activities in this field. To address this problem, the process of globalizing the food system has to be reversed and national control has to be re-introduced. Focus should be on encouraging the small farmers who are more productive and use eco friendly farming techniques. Peter_Rosset (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in ‘Nature’, 24 November 2011)

Another Looming Food Crisis C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The possibility of another global food crisis facing the world brings with it questions about what exactly is causing these crazy fluctuations in global food prices. Arguably, it is not changes in ‘real’ conditions that are behind these price fluctuations. Rather, it is the role played by rumour, and therefore by the media in altering expectations that can explain, to a large extent, the recent spike in food prices. Food_Crisis (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line print edition dated 24th July, 2012)

Speculation, Embedding and Food Prices: A cointegration analysis A. Jason Windawi

The disparity between massive volatility of food prices and relatively slow changes in agricultural supply and demand since the beginning of the Food Crisis in 2007 has focused attention on the potential effect of financial speculators in food markets. Identifying the effect however is a complicated challenge because of number of factors, the key being the criteria to define speculative activity. The author provides a more targeted analysis of one particular kind of speculator, and builds on a combination of sociological and econometric analysis to identify their presence in commodity markets during the food crisis. speculation_embedding (Download the full text…

Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Urban India

This report is an update of Food Insecurity Atlas of Urban India that was developed by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in October 2002 and a companion exercise to the Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Rural India of 2001. Reviewing the relative position of the major states with respect to food security, the Report reveals an alarming situation of a permanent food and nutrition emergency in urban India. Hence in order to promote food and nutrition security for all, the Report offers certain policy recommendations emphasizing that urban food security…

Notes on Land, Long Run Food Security and the Agrarian Crisis in India Sheila Bhalla

These Notes are organised in three main parts. Part I looks at examples of three approaches to land use and land acquisition issues. Two are from international organisations – the FAO and IFPRI – and concerned primarily with the acquisition of large tracts of farm land in developing countries by foreign investors, including Indian investors, and one is exemplified by a recent Indian Supreme Court judgment. Part II seeks to come to grips with the specific features of India’s agricultural and agrarian crises, and to make a distinction between the two. Part III deals with long term trends in land…

Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007 Timothy A. Wise and Sophia Murphy

Download the full report. The spikes in global food prices in 2007-8 served as a wake-up call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion, and food riots spread through the developing world. A second price spike in 2010-11, which drove the global food import bill for 2011 to an estimated $1.3 trillion, only deepened the sense that the policies and principles guiding agricultural development and food security were deeply flawed. How well has the international community responded to these challenges? In this policy…

Multinational Retail Firms in India Jayati Ghosh

The Indian government’s sudden decision to allow hitherto prohibited foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail as well as full ownership in single-brand retail generated huge public outcry, to the extent that the government was forced to pause. One important ally of the government, fearing for her own popularity in the state of West Bengal where she is currently Chief Minister, declared that the policy is temporarily “on hold”, to be greeted with only awkward silence from the government. Finally the government was forced to announce that the policy is to be kept on hold until “consensus” is achieved, which certainly…