Protecting national nutrition security in the face of food price volatility

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Food price volatility is a particularly serious problem for poor households in low-income countries, as they spend as much as 75% of their total income on food. With little flexibility in spending patterns, these families are forced to make dietary choices that threaten their nutritional wellbeing and health.

While the sources of recent and continuing agricultural commodity price volatility are still debated, there is growing evidence about the types of policy actions that can help stabilise conditions across the food system.

Today, on the occasion of the event held at the Houses of Parliament by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and the APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development, the Global Panel launches the policy brief “Managing Food Price Volatility: Policy Options to Support Healthy Diets and Nutrition in the Context of Uncertainty”.

John A. Kufuor, Chair of the Global Panel and former President of Ghana, said: “We are confident that policy makers could make better use of tools which help better predict prices and manage price volatility. Together we can deliver timely and effective policy actions”.

The brief identifies policy interventions that would anticipate and mitigate the negative nutritional outcomes of unforeseen price rises and increased price volatility and uncertainty. The Global Panel recommends that policy makers:

  • Invest in market monitoring and market-based insurance systems
  • Invest in agricultural productivity growth
  • Facilitate efficient food and agriculture markets and trade
  • Build food transformation capacity to enhance nutritional quality of foods
  • Establish targeted cost-effective consumer protection

“I am pleased that this Global Panel policy brief focuses on the lessons learned from many governments’ efforts to dampen food price volatility and reduce its impacts on the diets of low-income families. Both short-term actions and long-term policies are essential to protect national nutritional security effectively in the face of rising food prices and price volatility”, commented Emmy Simmons, Panel Member and Board Member of Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa/AGree.

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