Food price spikes, increasing volatility and global economic shocks: coping with challenges to food security in Asia


Food price spikes, increasing volatility and global economic shocks: coping with challenges to food security in Asia

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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok 2012


Asia is not only the most populous and the most economically vibrant region in the world today, it is also home to the largest number of poor and food insecure people in the world. Improving and sustaining food security in Asia poses formidable challenges in an increasingly unstable global economic environment. During the past five years the region has had to confront two sharp price spikes (in 2007-08 and 2010-11) and the impact of the global economic crisis that followed the global financial crisis of 2008. Though Asia coped with these huge shocks without a slide into large scale food insecurity, it is clear from recent developments in global food markets and the ongoing turmoil in the global economy that there is no room for complacency. How Asian countries coped with these multiple crises are an important source of policy lessons and guidance. This publication provides a synthesis of country studies in Asia Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam with a view towards analyzing the nature, outcomes and effectiveness of particular policy responses. It examines the extent to which immediate and longer term food security issues were addressed in programmes undertaken to cope with the crises and the lessons that have emerged for countries, as well as for regional and global cooperation to meet food security challenges.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive summary
Background: food price spike of 2007/08 and the global financial and
   economic crises

Research issues, approach and methodology
Study countries and classifications
Impact of the food price crisis
Background to the first food price crisis: 2007/08
    Policy responses: staving off domestic price volatility and reversing global
        food market integration
    Food price volatility and cross-border transmission of price changes from
        international to domestic prices
    Implications for modelling and forecasting the impact of international price changes
    Immediate impact of the global economic shock on poverty, employment and
        food security
    Policy responses and recovery: stimulus programmes and long-term food security
Government policy responses: effectiveness and rationale
    Coping with the food price crisis
    Large marginal trader countries: China and India
    Large importer countries: Indonesia and Philippines
    Smaller importer countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka
    Rice exporter countries: Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia
    Coping with the global financial and economic crises
    Policy challenges
Conclusions and recommendations
    Increasing food production
    Safety nets
    Emergency reserves, buffer stocks and regional cooperation
    A reliable international food trading system

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The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

ISBN 978-92-5-107320-9

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