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Trade and food security

The relationship between trade policy reforms and food security has been a topic of long-standing debate, that has resulted in various views on issues such as food self-sufficiency and trade orientation. Research and experience shows that the nature and magnitude of the linkage depends upon many factors, such as the pace and sequencing of the reform measures, the availability and quality of physical and human resources and how well markets are functioning.

Selected publications

The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2015–16
This edition aims to reduce the current polarization of views on the impacts of agricultural trade on food security and on the manner in which agricultural trade should be governed to ensure that increased trade openness is beneficial to all countries. The report seeks to contribute to a more informed debate on policy choices and to identify required improvements in the policy processes within which these choices are made.

Policy responses to high food prices in Latin America and the Caribbean: Country case studies
This publication presents evidence on the effectiveness of policies and programmes introduced in response to rising food prices in eight Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.

Countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States: Agricultural policy issues in the context of the World Trade Organization
This report examines the experience and main issues of twelve of these countries in the context of the rules and commitments in agriculture under the World Trade Organization (WTO). ENGLISH |  RUSSIAN

Agricultural trade and decent rural employment
Information note on why agricultural trade important for decent rural employment and the linkages between agricultural trade, employment and poverty? Given the significance of agriculture to rural livelihoods, agricultural trade has the potential to significantly impact rural employment and incomes. 

Managing food security risks and intra-regional trade in Africa
The role of intra-regional trade in managing food price risks in Africa is being discussed in various fora. In response to high food prices, many countries adopted ad-hoc measures to restrict and/or prohibit trade with neighbouring countries. This brief shows that regional trade can reduce domestic food price volatility by shifting food staples from areas where local markets are unable to absorb surplus production to food deficit regions.

Food Security in Africa: Market and Trade Policy for Staple Foods in Eastern and Southern Africa
Drawing on insights from theoretical applications, empirically based approaches and case study experience, this book contributes to the improved design and use of trade and related policy interventions in staple food markets.

Articulating and mainstreaming agricultural trade policy and support measures
July 2011
This book is an output of the FAO project, Articulating and mainstreaming agricultural trade policy and support measures, implemented during 2008-2010. The study is based on case studies for five countries - Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. 

Agricultural trade policy and food security in the Caribbean: structural issues, multilateral negoitations and competitiveness
Rome, 2007
The book examines various dimensions of trade policy and related issues of relevance to the countries in the CARICOM/CARIFORUM.

Trade reforms and food security: country case studies and synthesis
Rome, 2006
Between 1999 and 2002 FAO undertook a series of 23 country case studies to evaluate the impact of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) on agricultural trade and food security in developing countries.

Trade reforms and food security: Conceptualizing the linkages
June 2003
The purpose of this publication is to inform the research that underpins policy analysis, and the negotiations and/or prescriptions that follow, such that these enhance, rather than worsen, the food security status of poor countries.