The state of food insecurity in the world 2011

Rome, 2011

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Table of Contents

Key messages



  pdf [54Kb]

Undernourishment around the world:
impact of the 2006–08 price shock

   The crises hit the poor and the weak

   Revising FAO’s methodology for measuring hunger

  pdf [261Kb]

Recent trends in world food commodity prices:
costs and benefits

   Past and future trends in world food prices

   Costs and benefits of high and low food prices

   Costs and benefits of volatile and unpredictable prices


Lessons from the world food crisis of 2006–08


Policy options to address price volatility and high prices

   Preventing domestic price volatility in the short term:
   trade policies and buffer stocks

   Coping with likely future price volatility: risk
   management for smallholder farmers and governments

   Coping with price volatility after the fact: targeted
   safety nets and emergency food reserves

   Preventing price volatility in the long term: increasing
   productivity, the sustainability and resilience of


Technical annex

   Annex table

   Prevalence of undernourishment and progress
   towards the World Food Summit (WFS) and the
   Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in
   in developing countries





The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 highlights the differential impacts that the world food crisis of 2006-08 had on different countries, with the poorest being most affected. While some large countries were able to deal with the worst of the crisis, people in many small import-dependent countries experienced large price increases that, even when only temporary, can have permanent effects on their future earnings capacity and ability to escape poverty.

This year’s report focuses on the costs of food price volatility, as well as the dangers and opportunities presented by high food prices. Climate change and an increased frequency of weather shocks, increased linkages between energy and agricultural markets due to growing demand for biofuels, and increased financialization of food and agricultural commodities all suggest that price volatility is here to stay. The report describes the effects of price volatility on food security and presents policy options to reduce volatility in a cost-effective manner and to manage it when it cannot be avoided. It will be important to provide improved market information, create gender-sensitive safety nets that are designed in advance and can be implemented quickly in times of crisis, and invest in agriculture for the long-term to make it more productive and resilient to shocks.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) or of the World Food Programme (WFP) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO, IFAD or WFP in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in the maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO, IFAD or WFP concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers.

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© FAO 2011
ISBN 978-92-5-106927-1