Food Price Volatility and the Right to Food

Author: Ricardo Rapallo (FAO Right to Food Team)

Right to Food Policy Brief No. 1, 2011.

In the context of the 37th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), food price volatility and investments in agriculture are part of the main topics that are currently being discussed. The right to food issues briefs provide an analysis from a human rights-based approach and offer main recommendations to address the concerns related to both issues through policies and actions aiming at ensuring the right to food for all, particularly to those who are the most vulnerable to price volatility and insecurity of tenure of land and other natural resources.

The policy brief ”Food Price Volatility and the Right to Food” illustrates how it is generally recognized that high food price volatility has a negative impact on food security and how this volatility affects particularly the most vulnerable groups such as smallholder/family agriculture and low income urban and rural populations.

This brief also demonstrates how putting the Right to Food principles into practice can help to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the majority of policy tools being implemented to confront and reduce prices volatility, by identifying the possible negative effects of those tools on the most vulnerable, while suggesting the use of alternative policy measures to turn negative effects into positive ones for improvements in food security.

In addition, it is argued that a medium-term solution to reduce the excessive volatility would inevitable have to the account of better food security governance. It is in this field where the Right to Food approach has showed significant value added experiences.

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