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Russia’s restrictions on imports of agricultural and food products: An initial assessment

On 7 August 2014 Russia announced a ban on food imports from Western countries which, in an earlier move, had imposed sanctions on Russian business interests in connection with the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The prohibition was effective immediately, and will stay in place for one year, blocking all imports of affected products from the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia and Norway. The list published by the Russian government covers bovine meat, pig meat, processed meats, poultry, fish and other seafood, milk and milk products, vegetables, fruits and nuts1. The import ban came in the wake of other import restrictions imposed by Russia on agricultural and food products earlier this year. In January 2014, Russia banned all pork imports from the EU on the grounds of recorded cases of African swine fever in wild boars in border areas of Poland and Lithuania. Other prohibitions included a ban on dairy exports from the Netherlands, quoting sanitary reasons, and on exports of meat from Ukraine, referring to an inadequate level of monitoring of meat quality standards. At the end of July 2014 bans on milk and milk products from Ukraine and fruit from Moldova were introduced, all on SPS grounds. On 1 August 2014 fruits and vegetables from Poland had already been blocked from entering the Russian market on the basis of unacceptable levels of pesticide residues and nitrates.

Although the latest bans add to a long list of import restrictions already in place, the scope of the bans, involving a large range of products from the main exporters to the Russian market raised concerns that supplies of key commodities to the Russian market would be further constrained, with negative implications for Russian consumers across all income levels, at least in the short run. This note examines the importance of the affected imports for consumption in Russia and discusses factors which will influence the dynamics of supply and demand response to the ban

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Smallholder Integration In Changing Food Markets

Recent increases in the levels and volatility of food prices have created significant challenges to efforts to reduce levels of food insecurity both at national and household levels. As a result, significant political attention has been given to the promotion of improvements in food staples productivity in developing countries, both to offset the rapidly increasing costs of food imports, and to stimulate increased incomes and hence food security status at the household level. This attention has been manifested both at country level, with many developing countries placing food staples at the centre of their agriculture development programmes, and at the global level, for example in the context of the recent G20 initiatives.

A central focus of these initiatives has been to develop and advocate mechanisms that will result in increased levels of production by smallholder producers through the adoption of productivity —enhancing technology underpinned by improved research and development, facilitated access to critical inputs and production — related risk reduction measures. Less attention has been given to the significant heterogeneity of smallholder producers, both in terms of their access to the productive assets required to be able to increase production and, perhaps more importantly, in terms of their willingness to increase production for sale. A key message of this report is that without better understanding the determinants of smallholders’ participation in agricultural markets, and formulating appropriate measures to facilitate improved participation, initiatives seeking to promote the adoption of productivity enhancing technology by smallholder producers are likely to have limited success.

 Part 1 examines the characteristics of smallholder farming from a market perspective, explaining that different categories of smallholder producer face widely different sets of issues and constraints to market participation, stressing the mutual reinforcement of productivity growth and market integration, and setting this in a dynamic context of the constrained choices facing different producers. It then sets up the policy challenges facing governments in attempting to alleviate the constraints facing these producers.

Part 2 considers the determinants of smallholder participation in rapidly evolving agricultural markets, considering the categories of constraints and risks faced in increasing levels of production for sale in different market outlets and the mechanisms through which the choices made by different market participants shape smallholders’ integration into markets.

Part 3 introduces examples of the types of solutions that may be required to facilitate the participation of smallholders in markets at different levels of formalization, considering arrangements such as producer organizations in aggregating smallholder production to market, and then the potential of mechanisms, or support services, such as market-based risk management instruments, market information systems and extension.

Part 4 then turns to examine how such arrangements and mechanisms might best be delivered to the smallholder sector, with prominence given to the role of the public sector, broadly defined to include government, donors and civil society

07.10.2014

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Monitoring commitment and capacity to act on food insecurity and malnutrition

Monitoring commitment and capacity to act on food insecurity and malnutrition: the Food Security Commitment and Capacity Profile methodology

There is a global consensus that strong political commitment by Governments and development partners is key to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition. It is against this background that FAO has developed a methodology to assess and track efforts of national stakeholders to act on food insecurity and malnutrition: the Food Security Commitment and Capacity Profile (FSCCP) ( http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3998e.pdf ).

The methodology provides a tool that helps stakeholders to:

1. Carry out a systematic assessment of political commitment and capacity of countries to act on food insecurity and malnutrition;

2. Engage in evidence-based policy dialogue, planning and prioritization of investments in food security and nutrition; and

3. Monitor performance over time;

The methodology has been applied since 2013 in the context of FAO’s corporate Results Framework (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/030/mk234ea1.pdf) for planning and monitoring progress of efforts to reduce hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

The food security commitment and capacity country profile is designed as a balanced score card which provides a concise view of countries’ commitments and institutional capacities in terms of four key dimensions of the enabling environment, namely:

i. Policies, programmes and legal frameworks: i.e. the country has comprehensive policies/ strategies and investment programmes (based on evidence, addressing underlying causes of food insecurity and adopting a twin-track approach) that are supported by a legal framework;

ii. Human and financial resources: i.e. policies/strategies, programmes and legislation that are translated into effective action through the allocation of the necessary financial and human resources and solid administrative capacity of governments;

iii. Governance, coordination mechanisms and partnerships: i.e. the government regards food security and nutrition as an interdisciplinary priority by setting up a high level inter-ministerial unit responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of food security and nutrition responses, while ensuring accountability through its support to independent human rights institutions that provide people with means to file violations of the right to food. Furthermore, a government that takes on a lead role in managing partnerships and coordinated action across a broad range of actors and sectors involved in food security and nutrition at national/decentralized levels, creating space for civil society participation;

iv. Evidenced-based decision-making: i.e. decision-making on food security and nutrition that draws on evidence generated from functional information systems that make it possible to monitor trends; track and map actions; and assess impact in a manner that is timely and comprehensive, allowing for lessons learned to be fed back into the policy process.

For each of these four dimensions, the methodology paper outlines:

1. A set of core indicators and associated qualifiers;

2. The approach to producing a score for each of the qualifiers and indicators;

3. Details on the sources of the required data and information.

4. A survey instrument and secondary data collection tools.

Apart from helping FAO to measure the outcome of its work on food security and nutrition, it is expected that the country profiles will also stimulate debate on how to improve the enabling environment for food security and nutrition and promote more systematic learning and sharing of experiences.

It would be interesting to hear from the experiences of other agencies and sectors that are monitoring political commitment.

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The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014

SOFI 2014 presents updated estimates of undernourishment and progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and World Food Summit (WFS) hunger targets.

The 2014 report also presents further insights into the suite of food security indicators introduced in 2013 and analyses in greater depth the dimensions of food security – availability, access, stability and utilization.

In addition, this year’s report examines the diverse experiences of seven countries, with a specific focus on the enabling environment for food security and nutrition that reflects commitment and capacities across four dimensions: policies, programmes and legal frameworks; mobilization of human and financial resources; coordination mechanisms and partnerships; and evidence-based decision-making.

You can read the key messages or download your full copy from the FAO website: www.fao.org/publications/sofi

 

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Street Food: The way forward for better food safety and nutrition

This article summarizes the outcomes of an FSN Forum online discussion on Street Foods (September/October 2011). The discussion was part of a study carried out by FAO’s Regional Office for Africa on possible incentives to improve the safety, quality, and nutritional value of street foods.

11.09.2014

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Climate Change and Food Security in Pacific Island Countries

With increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels and more frequent and intense extreme weather events, Pacific islands countries, especially those in warmer latitudes, are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Their populations are expected to be among the first that will need to adapt to climate change or even abandon their traditional homeland and relocate. Unless we act now, climate change will constitute a major barrier to the achievement of sustainable development and viable food production goals for all Pacific island countries, while threatening the very existence of many of them.

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HLPE - High Level Panel of Experts Reports

On this page you can access al reports prepared by the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

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Price volatility 
and food security

2011
Process and docs

Land tenure and international investments in agriculture 2011
Process and docs

Food security 
and climate change
2012

Process and docs

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Social protection 
for food security
2012

Process and docs
Web annex

Biofuels 
and food security

Process and docs

Investing in smallholder agriculture for
food security

Process and docs

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Sustainable
fisheries and aquaculture for
food security and nutrition

Food losses
and waste in the
context of
sustainable food systems 

Water for food
security and nutrition
2015

Process and docs

 

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Meat Atlas - Facts and figures about the animals we eat

 
This publication sheds light on the impacts of meat and dairy production, and aims to catalyse the debate over the need for better, safer and more sustainable food and farming.

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Impacts of foreign agricultural investment in developing countries: evidence from case studies

by Pascal Liu, Senior Economist, Trade and Markets Division, FAO.  
 
Although there has been much debate about the potential benefits and risks of international investment, there is a lack of systematic evidence on the actual impacts on the host country and their determinants. This paper summarizes the results of FAO’s case studies on foreign investment in developing country agriculture.

FAO’s studies on foreign investment in developing country agriculture suggest that the disadvantages of large-scale land acquisitions often outweigh the few benefits to the local community. In countries where local land rights are not clearly defined and governance is weak, large scale land acquisition raises particularly high risks for the local community.  Even from the perspective of the investor, land acquisition is unlikely to be the most profitable business model due to the high potential for conflict and damage to reputation.

Conversely, the studies suggest that investments that involve local farmers as equal business partners, giving them an active role and leaving them in control of their land, have the most positive and sustainable effects on local economies and social development. These inclusive business models need strong external support for supporting farmers and facilitating the investor-farmers relationship in order to succeed. They also require ‘patient capital’, as financial returns to investment are unlikely to materialize in the first years.

Beside the business model, other important factors include the legal and institutional framework in the host country, the terms and conditions of the investment contract and the social and economic condition in the investment area. Strengthening the governance and capacity of institutions in host developing countries is essential to enhancing the developmental impacts of foreign agricultural investment.

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Transferts Monétaires et Résilience : Renforcer les liens entre transferts monétaires d’urgence et programmes nationaux de transferts sociaux dans le Sahel - Document de discussion

Suite à une prise de conscience ces dernières années par les acteurs de la région sahelienne, un nombre croissant d’États ont engagé une dynamique visant à mettre en place des programmes permanents de transferts sociaux afin que l’aide aux populations les plus vulnérables devienne plus prévisible et régulière, et ainsi plus efficace. Parallèlement, les acteurs humanitaires ont été amenés à étendre leur action au-delà des seuls pics de crise, et tendent à harmoniser leurs approches en matière de réponses d’urgence et de redressement.

Dans ce contexte, il apparaît opportun de s’interroger sur une possible amélioration des liens entre projets de transferts monétaires d’urgence et programmes nationaux de transferts sociaux (monétaires) en vue du renforcement de la résilience des populations au Sahel. Ainsi, faisant écho à une récente étude de cas commissionnée par le CaLP sur les possibilités d’utilisation des programmes nationaux de transferts sociaux pour répondre aux crises humanitaires, la question soulevée ici est la suivante :
Dans quelle mesure est-il possible et souhaitable d’utiliser les programmes nationaux de transferts sociaux pour fournir une assistance humanitaire aux populations du Sahel ?

Afin d’apporter des éléments de réponse à cette question, le CaLP, l’UNICEF et la Commission européenne se sont associés pour organiser, avec le soutien financier de l’OFDA, un premier atelier d’échange régional sur le sujet. En réunissant une cinquantaine d’acteurs d’horizons divers (acteurs humanitaires, de développement, étatiques, du secteur privé) impliqués dans les politiques et programmes de transferts monétaires, l’atelier visait à porter un regard croisé sur la problématique et à établir un diagnostic commun. Établir un tel diagnostic doit permettre de poser les bases de l'élaboration, par la suite, d'un programme régional de recherche et d'action autour des relations entre systèmes de protection sociale et réponses humanitaires dans le Sahel.

Le présent document de discussion est inspiré des échanges qui ont eu lieu au cours de l’atelier. Il vise à étendre la discussion à d’autres acteurs de la région, ainsi qu’à d’autres régions confrontées au même questionnement. Il propose une première approche de la problématique, présente quelques conclusions issues de l’atelier, et suggère plusieurs pistes d’action. Son but est avant tout de susciter réactions et réflexions. La problématique est vaste et cette première initiative vise à enclencher un processus à plus long terme de dialogue et d’échanges entre acteurs humanitaires, acteurs étatiques et autres instances autour de cette question.