Photograph courtesy of IFPRI.
The Global Food Policy 2018 Report released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that, despite recent food policy efforts, the number of undernourished people has increased since 2015. The report attributes this increase to failures in food policy reform due to a lack of international cooperation. Furthermore, the report finds that international cooperation through governance and trade can reform the food system and reduce the number of undernourished people in 2018.
The report assembles the research of experts in a collection of essays, focusing on new developments in food policy and new methods to evaluate hunger and malnutrition. Regional sections follow these topics, evaluating regional trends in 2017 and predicted trends in 2018. At the end of the report, data tables and visualizations present trends in key food security indicators such as volume of food production and inequality in hunger within regions.
According to the IFPRI, governments focused on eliminating hunger must avoid protectionist and anti-globalization policies pertaining to the flow of goods, investments, people, and information. This would allows the international community to tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty such as price invariability, lack of infrastructure, forced or unstable migration, and lack of data. According to Shenggen Fan, Director General of the IFPRI, “global cooperation to enact policies that leverage the benefits of globalization while minimizing its risks will be key to achieving food security.”
To enable governments to initiate the necessary international networks of cooperation, the IFPRI recommends forming a Governing Platform to coordinate and fund global action. The structure of this Governing Platform includes three focus areas: food and nutrition security, the protection of natural resources, and enhanced sustainable agricultural productivity.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), hunger affects 11 percent of the global population. Furthermore, the FAO finds the degree to which a country suffers from food insecurity is exacerbated by the country’s prevalence of conflict or climate change effects. The Global Food Policy Report notes that global action can help countries – especially Somalia, Yemen, and South Sudan – out of these conditions of vulnerability, and in conjunction, out of hunger.
Additionally, the report includes IFPRI’s Global Food Policy Report 2018 Survey, which asks over 1,000 individuals from 105 countries about their perceptions of food policy and food security. According to the findings of the survey, 74 percent of respondents believe policies that support the free flow of goods and investment contribute to global food security.
The 2018 Global Food Policy Report is the IFPRI’s seventh such report. As part of an annual series, the report expands upon IFPRI’s mission to provide research-based policy solutions to end hunger and sustainably reduce poverty.