FAO Initiative on Soaring Food Prices


FAO policy seminars to address high food prices

6 October 2011

In 2007, international food prices began to soar, and by mid-2008, they had reached their highest level in 30 years. Some governments responded to the food price crisis in haste, putting in place measures such as export bans, which often made the situation worse.

Food prices rose sharply in recent months. In January 2011, the FAO Food Price Index averaged 231 points – up 3.4 percent from December 2010 and the highest level (both in real and nominal terms) since FAO started measuring food prices in 1990.

In March, FAO kicked off a series of seminars designed to bring together interested development partners and to help governments make informed policy decisions to respond to the current rise in food prices. The two-day seminars are being rolled out at regional and subregional level, starting in Asia and Africa.

These seminars provide policy decision-makers from relevant government ministries (agriculture, trade and finance) with the opportunity to exchange experiences from the 2008 food price crisis and to become better acquainted with the pros and cons of the various policy measures mapped out in FAO’s newly updated Guide for policy and programmatic actions at country level to address high food prices.

The seminars are being implemented in the context of the Impact Focus Area that addresses actions towards global food security and in coherence with the Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA) prepared by the High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis. The CFA, which was updated in September 2010, is designed to encourage concerted responses to the food price crisis with actions that respond to the immediate needs of vulnerable populations and contribute to longer-term resilience (the twin track approach).

Representatives from producer organizations, the private sector, regional integration organizations and development partners, including IFAD and WFP, are also invited to the seminars.

Other partners such as the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will have the chance to share their experiences and to explain the type of immediate support they can provide.

Click here for the policy guide in Arabic, English, French, Russian, Spanish

Click here for the latest version (October 2012)

Seminar Dates and Locations

Asia region: 9 -10 March 2011, Bangkok, Thailand (read reports)
Pacific Islands subregion: 14-15 April 2011, Nadi, Fiji (read report)

Eastern Africa subregion: 16-18 March 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (read report)
Central Africa subregion:  30-31 May 2011, Libreville, Gabon (read report in French)
West Africa subregion:   6-7 October 2011, Dakar, Senegal
Southern Africa subregion:  6-8 June 2011, Lilongwe, Malawi (read report)

Europe and Central Asia
Europe and Central Asia region: 20-22 June 2011, Istanbul, Turkey (read report)

Latin America and the Caribbean
Central America subregion:  15-16 June 2011, San Salvador, El Salvador (read report in Spanish)
South America subregion:  7-8 June 2011, Santiago, Chile (read report)
Caribbean subregion:  13-14 June, Trinidad and Tobago (read report)

North Africa and the Middle East
North Africa subregion:  2-4 May 2011, Tunis, Tunisia (read report in French)
Oriental Near East and Gulf Countries:  9-10 May 2011, Amman, Jordan (read report)

Background Documents

'High food prices: the food security crisis of 2007-2008 and recent food price increases'

'High food prices: improving the performance of the agricultural sector'

'Productive safety nets'

'Social safety nets and high food prices'