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Topic: Food Prices

What's the impact of food price volatility on labour supply and economic growth?

by Mr. Julian Hochscherf

Dear members of the forum,

I am doing a PhD on the insurability of weather-induced food price shocks in Sub-Saharan Africa using index-based microinsurances. I am keen to discover consequences resulting from food price volatility for the effective labour supply. In addition, I would like to analyze whether this labor supply decision can be an explanation for low economic growth in countries showing relatively higher food price volatility.

The first step of the project will be to find empirical evidence that there is indeed a reaction concerning effective labor supply in the face of volatile food prices. A second step would be to discover price patterns between adverse weather events and food prices and to determine the effects for insurance indexes. As I stand at the beginning of that project, I would be glad to receive many propositions, feedbacks of and contacts to more experienced practitioners or researchers etc.

Julian Hochscherf

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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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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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Policy brief: Improving wheat trade policy administration to benefit both consumers and producers in the United Republic of Tanzania

Import tariffs and costly import procedures may explain why consumers in the United Republic of Tanzania pay relatively high prices for wheat. Although wheat farmers benefit from higher prices, domestic production has not increased. Indeed, since 2000 domestic wheat production has been able to cover only about 20 per cent of the country’s consumption requirements.

 Findings from a recent study conducted by the Monitoring African Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) project suggest that:

  • - simplifying procedures for importing wheat and reducing overall import costs would make wheat more affordable for consumers;
  • - monitoring re-exports of wheat flour to neighbouring countries would help ensure that lower import tariffs for wheat actually lead to lower domestic prices; and
  • - supporting efforts to develop wheat varieties adapted to local agro-ecological and climatic conditions, and expanding related extension services, are crucial for increasing wheat production.