Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Dr. Ekaterina Krivonos

Organization: FAO
Country: Italy
I am working on:

Trade and food security; Trade agreements

Ekaterina Krivonos is an Economist in the Trade and Markets Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy. Her work is focused on analyzing trade policy issues in relation to agricultural markets and food security, including multilateral and regional trade negotiations. After finishing her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from University of Maryland, Ekaterina also worked in the UN Regional Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, where she supported countries and regions with the analysis of agricultural markets and formulation and implementation of trade and regional integration strategies.

Within its Strategic Objective 4 “Efficient and Inclusive Agricultural and Food Systems”, FAO supports countries’ effective engagement in the formulation of trade agreements that are conducive to improved food security. It does so by strengthening evidence on the implications of changes in trade policies, providing capacity development in the use of this evidence, and facilitating neutral dialogue on trade. At the national level, FAO supports governments in mainstreaming trade and agricultural policies and, more concretely, in the analysis of the possible implications of trade reforms for the agricultural sector.

This member contributed to:

    • I would like to respond to Christian Häberli. Certainly one can be too diplomatic, in part that comes from the experience of dealing with sometimes very sensitive issues through interaction with governments. In that context, how you phrase things becomes quite important. In this particular case, however, I was not trying to reconcile irreconcilable trade stances, but merely pointing out that trade can be beneficial for food security, but not trade alone: A lot of the work has to be done at the country level first.

      The  "holistic food value chain approach" was borrowed from the commentary by Dennis, who advocated addressing the multiple challenges that farmers face as part of a value chain. He has a very strong point. If governments (but also international organizations, donors, NGOs) focus only on production – which in fact occurs in many projects – ignoring marketing and logistics bottlenecks, these investments would be lost or could even make matters worse locally (consider local prices dropping in case of oversupply if farmers are given seeds and technology to produce more than usual and without a proper outlet to other markets).

      At the other extreme, introducing trade reforms, or changes in the way market functions (e.g. withdrawal from state trading or changing the rules for domestic marketing or export procedures), or, say, assisting cooperatives in setting up export operations – all that without having the necessary volumes of production or products of certain quality – is also a completely lost effort. I have seen this in many countries, and I am sure you have too. Hence, very loosely, I called it a “holistic” approach, meaning that if we want the agricultural sector (or food security, not the same thing, sure) to benefit from trade, the whole chain needs to be considered.

    • Dear participants, I read with great interest all your contributions and would like to thank you for this rich discussion with many (often polarized) views.

      As Susan pointed out, most of you are skeptical about the contributions that trade can make to food security. Concerns that many of you have with trade (and opening up markets) include the vulnerability of the local food systems, competition from outside displacing small farmers, selling outside the community that could leave the local population with less or more expensive food. You also mention the detrimental effects to the environment from switching to larger agriculture (an example with soy production in Argentina was mentioned by Ricardo). Others highlighted that trade can improve food availability, but could negatively affect utilization and stability if it introduces phytosanitary or other risks (Abdybek from Kyrgyzstan and Moises from the Dominican Republic both mentioned that). The issue of inferior nutritional quality of food that is imported at a cheaper price was raised by Ghose from China. Jean-Marc wrote that getting the price expectations right is not an easy task for farmers, and this creates price volatility, which in turn diminishes the incentives to investment.  In terms of benefits to producers that could potentially engage in trader, many mentioned that small farmers not able to comply with strict technical and SPS standards in the export markets.

      Dennis from AfriGrains highlighted a major shortcoming that is a systematic “blockage” to food systems caused by inadequate attention to storage, transport and marketing. These weaknesses are often ignored by policy makers, leading to a failure by farmers to produce sufficient quantities of food and constraining the flow of food from farms to consumers. This leads us to believe that a whole lot more needs to be done to develop domestic markets and logistics, and more importantly, to ensure that farmers are supported with proper instruments to overcome these constrains.

      Many point out that the interaction between trade and food security varies greatly depending on the country’s situation with producing own food, market structure, share of small farmers, government policies etc. As Sally points out, often small farmers lose from greater trade, while the middle sized to large farms stand to gain. Uneven/unfair distribution of benefits from trade is perhaps the theme that is mentioned as one of the main concerns in this discussion.

      These are all very real and valid concerns and we do need some serious thinking on how to address them. In your comments you offer solutions to overcoming some of these weaknesses. Personally I don’t consider the suggestions to eliminate trade (banning exports and/or imports) and having each country produce all the food they consume as a viable one. Relying on own production only (even leaving aside the efficiency arguments where one country that is more efficient at producing certain products – say wheat in Argentina – can produce the godo at a lower cost, implying a lower price to poor consumers), implies greater risks of disruptions in supplies due to weather-related emergencies, wars and other failures. I am not familiar with any evidence showing that moving towards this model (in essence, isolation) has produced positive results in terms of food security. North Korea comes to mind as an example of the opposite. But if anyone is aware of any positive cases, it would be beneficial to share them.

      The more balanced approach (offered for example by Dennis Bennett) is that there are often unintended negative effects from greater trade openness and these need to be dealt with ex-ante. Dennis mentions that trade agreements need to be evaluated for their effectiveness in supporting food security and development of value chains. I would only add that, from a national priorities perspective, food security would not be the only goal (although certainly one of the central ones), but there would also be other aspects of economic and social development to concider, including poverty reduction, better health and education systems etc.

      Some of the solutions listed by the participants include:

      - Greater participation of farmers in trade negotiations to ensure that their views are incorporated;

      - Safety nets to accompany trade agreements (to solve the issue of uneven distribution of gains);

      - Attention to local food security value chains, addressing the issues in a “bottom-up” fashion and an integrated approach to developing comprehensive food systems, including all stages of production and marketing .This includes solving the problems with storage/marketing/transport/creation of markets;

      - Technological innovations (which need appropriate investment) and support programs to improve the access of small to finance and technical assistance;

      - Inclusive business models.

      Many coincide that trade can enhance food security, but certain conditions must be met (ensuring food safety and crop diversity was mentioned by Vijay, for example). On a global scale, the interests of the poorer countries should be considered as the first priority when negotiating trade agreements.

      These are certainly valuable ideas, and I hope this holistic approach to ensure that farmers benefit from participation in markets – be it local, national or global – will gain more ground.

      One thing is emerging rather clearly: Subsistence farmers are at greatest risk from open trade, it does not seem to be a viable strategy to simply open up markets without taking care of the weaknesses outline above first. Substantial assistance is needed to give a boost to domestic production, to ensure that smaller farmers advance to a more competitive position before opening up for trade. That is the path many developed economies with advanced agricultural sectors have taken in the past.

      However, Christian Haberli also has a point when he says that “farmer security is not food security”. While border protection and farm support would clearly benefit producers but whether or not it is the best strategy for national food security (and the global food security) is a different question. Let us not forget about the consumers in this discussion.

      It is not easy to draw any conclusions from all this. I am perhaps repeating what I put in the introductory comments, but trade ALONE cannot solve food security or poverty problems. I don’t think anybody can reasonably suggest that opening up for trade would be the solution to these serious issues.

      The more practical and relevant questions could be: First, would countries be better off in a closed economy, relying only on own production? I have yet to see any evidence of that.  Second, as most of us agree, trade has advantages and disadvantages, sometimes severe, and there are certainly people who would lose from trade, as from any other major reforms. So, who should we prioritize? Farmers? Consumers? All population? And what are we trying to achieve? Poverty reduction? Food security? Increased farm incomes? Greater social expenditure (for safety nets, education etc)? Unfortunately, all at once is not really possible. And if so, what degree of protectionism (or conversely, trade liberalization) would be adequate, given these priorities? One interesting piece of evidence can be found in this recent paper: Third, let us say we have established what is our ideal rate of protection is under given circumstances of a country and the national priorities. How do we make sure that the benefits are maximized? What is need to be done at the national level? I think here the holistic food value chain approach suggested by Dennis would be very useful.

    • Dear participants, I would like to welcome you to the discussion: “Examining the linkages between trade and food security: What is your experience?” I hope that we will have a very fruitful and interesting debate. This is not an easy topic, and country experiences with trade in relation to food security objectives vary a lot. But that is precisely why it is important to have the different views heard and use the rich experience in the countries (both positive and negative) to develop viable proposals that governments can take into consideration when designing public policy.

      Trade and trade policy affect the four pillars of food security in a very direct way as they affect food availability and the relative prices of goods and factors of production. But trade in itself is neither a threat no a panacea when it comes to food security, but it certainly poses challenges and even risks that need to be considered in a debate, supported by proper analysis.

      Food security is high on the political agenda these days, not only at the national level, but also in global processes, such as WTO negotiations, G-20, development of Sustainable Development Goals. The moment is therefore ripe for having this discussion on the implications of trade and trade policy for food security, and I am looking forward to hearing your views. As a facilitator, I will do my best to provide relevant inputs and steer the discussion towards constructive outcomes.




      Дорогие друзья,

      Я хотела бы поблагодарить вас за участие в обсуждении. Я думаю многие из вас подняли очень  важные вопросы, которые несомненно требуют более детального анализа и дополнительных дискуссий. Я много почерпнула для себя в ваших ответах. Наверное самым ценным для меня лично было услышать об опыте разных стран с углублением торговли и последствиями для сельского хозяйства и продовольственной безопасностью. Я отметила следующие пункты:

      1. Существуют значительные различия в методиках стран для оценки продовольственной  безопасности, в свою очередь это означает различные меры политики для достижения целей, связанных с продовольствием.
      2. Торговля играет огромную роль для продовольственной  безопасности, поскольку любые действия в этой среде – например открытие рынка или наоборот, введение ограничений –  моментально влияет на доступность продуктов.
      3. Многие эксперты отожествляют продовольственную безопасность с уровнем самообеспечения и импортозамещением. При этом остро встает вопрос государственной поддержки для достижения этих целей. От себя я хотела бы отметить, что в то время как самообеспечение может являться легитимной и вполне понятной целью государственной политики, стоит отметить, что она это одна лишь грань продовольственной безопасности, и связь между этими двумя понятиями не является автоматической. Обеспечение необходимым по качеству и количеству питанием прежде всего зависит от покупательной способности населения и, в дополнение, целенаправленности социальных программ. Даже во время кризиса высоких цен на продовольствие не наблюдалось перебоев с поставками, основная проблема заключалась в том, что определенные слои населения пострадали от высоких цен, при этом является ли страна производителем основных продуктов питания, решающим фактором не являлось, поскольку рост цен наблюдался везде.
      4. Любая мера государственной политики окажет различное воздействие на разные слои населения. Очень точно написал Владимир Матенчук: « Правительство должно искать баланс между различающимися интересами участников оборота... Некоторые игроки создали достаточно сильные ассоциации, с возможностью финансирования лоббирования. Поэтому, очень важно, чтобы существовал сбалансированный диалог между различными заинтересованными сторонами, чтобы избежать перевеса тех или иных сторон.»
      5. Все эти вопросы требуют углубленных исследований, особенно в контексте динамики торговых переговоров в регионе, как в рамках в ВТО, так и в ходе евразийской интеграции. При этом стоит отметить, что переговоры требуют не только достаточной аналитики, но соответствующего уровня подготовки для отстаивания государственных интересов. Как написала Klara Dzhakypbekova:  «...для того, чтобы добиться определенных разрешений на меры поддержки в данной отрасли, требуются средства и специализированные кадры для ведения переговоров на уровне ВТО. Для развивающихся стран это является важным препятствием в вопросах надлежащей защиты своих интересов на международной арене.»

      Я думаю, эти вопросы будут подниматься не раз, в разных инстанциях и при разных случаях. Важно участие и экспертов, и государственных деятелей, и частного сектора, и международных организаций в этом диалоге. Я хотела бы еще раз поблагодарить участников, а также команду FSN Forum, которая подготовила, провела и обеспечила полную поддержку данного обсуждения.

      Dear friends,

      I would like to thank you for the participation in the discussion. I think many of you have raised very important issues that will undoubtedly require a more detailed analysis and further discussion. I learned a lot from your responses. Probably the most valuable for me was to learn about the experiences of different countries in deepening of trade and about the impact on agriculture and food security. I noted the following points:

      1. There are significant differences in the methods of food security assessment. In turn, this means that there are a variety of policy measures aimed to achieve food related objectives.
      2. Trade is crucial for food security, since any action in this environment - e.g.: opening of new markets or vice-versa imposition of restrictions - instantly affects the availability of products.
      3. Many experts identify food security with the level of self-sufficiency and import substitution. In this context state support aimed to achieve these goals is a critical issue. I would like to specify that while self-sufficiency can be a legitimate and an entirely understandable national policy objective, it shall be noted, that it is a mere dimension of food security, and that the linkage between these two concepts is not automatic. Provision of food of required quality and quantity primarily depends on the purchasing power of the population and, in addition, on the focus of social programs. Even in times of a crisis, characterized by high food prices, there has been no disruption of supplies, and the problem resided in the fact that some social groups were affected by high prices; at the same time whether the country was a producer of basic foodstuffs was not a determinative factor, since price increase was observed countrywide.
      4. Any measure of national policy will have a different effect on different social groups. Volodymyr Matenchuk was very precise: “Governments shall seek a balance between differing interests of economic agents… Some players have created rather strong associations, which have the possibility of financing for lobbying. Therefore, it is important to have a balanced dialogue between different stakeholders in order to avoid the preponderance of parties”.
      5. All these issues require an in-depth research, especially in the context of the dynamics of trade negotiations in the region, both within the WTO and in the Eurasian integration. It is worth noting that negotiations require not only proper analytics, but also an adequate level of competence for defending the national interests. As Klara Dzhakypbekova wrote: “…special means and stuff for negotiations on the WTO level are required in order to obtain permits to use support measures for this industry. For developing countries it is a crucial obstacle to an adequate protection of their interests on the international stage”.

      I believe these issues will be raised at different levels and under different circumstances more than once. Involvement of experts, government officials, private sector, and international organizations in this dialogue is very important. Once again I would like to thank the participants and the team of the FSN Forum, which prepared, conducted and provided full support to this discussion.


      Уважаемые участники! 

      Благодарю всех, кто высказал свое мнение, за интересные комментарии и активную позицию. Много разных мнений, опыт стран во многом отличается, но все мнения интересны и помогают разобраться в столь сложных вопросам.

      Многие из вас заметили, что торговля непременно влияет на все четыре изменения продовольственной безопасности. Для того, чтобы торговля смогла оказать положительное влияние на разрешение проблем с питанием, некоторые необходимые условия должны быть соблюдены. Так, Абдыбек из Кыргызстана отмечает, что для того, чтобы воспользоваться возможностями на экспортных рынках, фермеры и переработчики должны обеспечить выполнение стандартов по безопасности питания и других нормативов. А это часто не под силы мелким и средним производителям. Также зачастую проблема заключается в отсутствии надлежащей системы сертификации. Кроме того, маленькие размеры земельных участков в Кыргызстане (по сообщению Матраима) не позволяют полностью воспользоваться возможностями торговли, поскольку требуются минимальные объемы сбыта для развития необходимой инфраструктуры и получения доступа на рынки (стóит отметить, что не только международные, но и региональные и национальные).

      Овездурды из Туркменистана отмечает, что жесткая конкуренция со стороны импорта может вынудить местных производителей на методы производства, ведущие к деградации почв и потере водных ресурсов. Таким образом торговые соглашения могут отрицательно повлиять на экологическую устойчивость сельского хозяйства, и, соответственно, на стабильность продовольственной безопасности.

      Дарья из Узбекистана написала о том, что воздействие торговли на продовольственную безопасность во многом зависит от специфики страны, например является ли страна нетто-импортером или нетто-экспортером и от конкурентоспособности производителей. Она привела как положительные, так и отрицательные эффекты договора о свободной торговли между Узбекистаном и ЕАЭС. Я с ней полностью согласна и хотела бы добавить, что изменения в торговой политике по-разному сказываются не только на разных странах, но и  на разных группах населения внутри страны. Например, запрещение экспорта продукта может повлечь рост его внутренних поставок и в краткосрочной перспективе снижение его цены. Это выгодно и потребителям, и отечественным переработчикам, но имеет негативные последствия для производителей и экспортеров. С другой стороны, сокращение импортных пошлин помогает снизить оплачиваемые потребителями цены на продукты питания, но увеличивает риски для доходов домохозяйств, конкурирующих с импортом, и их продовольственной безопасности.

      Валерия привела пример Украины. Она отметила, что капиталовложения, которые были необходимы для увеличения экспорта мяса птицы из Украины, повлияли на внутренние цены на мясо птицы для потребителей. В данном случае, цены возросли, что отрицательно сказалось на продовольственной безопасности. В данном случае вопрос стоит о балансировании интересов производителей и потребителей, хотя в общем и целом развитие торговли возможно и оказывает положительное воздействие на экономику страны и доходы населения.

      Неравномерное или несправедливое распределение выгод от торговли, это возможно, тема, которая затронула большинство участников. Многие выразили мнение, что выгода от торговли обычно получается крупными предприятиями и инвесторами, но не фермерскими хозяйствами. Это заставляет нас задуматься о том, какие меры государственной политики необходимы для смягчения негативных последствий торговли, снижения неравенства и решения социальных проблем, которые более открытая торговля может обострить.

      В заключение хотелось бы отметить, что как некоторые из вас упомянули, государство должно играть самую активную роль для преодоления обсуждаемых нами барьеров. Без надлежащих мер для решения проблем с логистикой и сертификацией, качеством продукции, разрозненных фермеров, нерациональным использованием ресурсов и так далее, нереально добиться пользы от расширения рыночных возможностей. Долгосрочная и стратегическая поддержка мелких фермеров, как например в странах Азии  (Китай, Япония и другие) становится критическим фактором для получения выгоды от торговли (по сообщению Матраима). Овездурды приводит примеры такой поддержки: обеспечение информацией, повышение технического потенциала фермеров, помощь в реализации продукции, снабжение высококачественными семенами.

      От себя я хотела бы добавить, что в данном процессе важную роль играет координация действий различных государственных учреждений (например, министерств экономики, торговли и сельского хозяйства, таможенных органов и санитарных и фитосанитарных служб). К сожалению, странам с переходной экономикой, как правило, не хватает человеческих и финансовых ресурсов для проведения реформ, необходимых для максимального использования возможностей торговли. Но для начала было бы важно понять, какие же меры в данном конкретном случае являются оптимальными, а для этого нужен детальных анализ, обсуждение мер среди экспертного сообщества и широких слоев населения и координация работы надлежащих государственных органов для реализации рекомендаций. 

      Dear participants,

      I would like to thank everyone for expressing your views, for your interesting contributions and your active stand. There are many different opinions, and countries’ experiences differ in many respects, but at the same time all opinions are interesting and help to understand these complex issues.

      Many of you noticed that trade certainly affects the four dimensions of food security. For trade to have a positive effect on the solution of food security issues, some important conditions must be observed. Thus, Abdylbek from Kyrgyzstan noted, that farmers and processors have to ensure compliance with food security standards and other standards in order to benefit from opportunities in export markets. And it is often beyond the strength of small and medium producers. The problem often resides in the lack of a proper system of certification. Moreover, small size of land plots in Kyrgyzstan (according to Matraim) don’t allow to take full advantage of trade opportunities, as minimum sales volumes are required for development of the necessary infrastructure and obtaining access to markets (not only international, but regional and national as well).

      Ovezdurdy from Turkmenistan noted that severe import competition might force local producers to use production methods, which lead to soil degradation and loss of water resources. Thus trade agreements may negatively affect the environmental sustainability of agriculture, and therefore the stability of food security.

      Darya from Uzbekistan wrote, that the impact of trade on food security depends on the country specifics, such as whether a country is a net importer or a net exporter, and on the competitiveness of manufacturers. She quoted both positive and negative effects of the agreement on food trade between Uzbekistan and EEU. I fully agree with her, and would like to add that changes in trade policies have different impact not only on countries but on different population groups in the country as well. For example, embargo on export of a product may result in growth of its domestic supplies and decline in its price in short term period. It is advantageous to both consumers and domestic processors, but it has a negative impact on producers and exporters. On the other hand, lowering of import duties helps to reduce prices on food paid by consumers, but increases risks to household incomes (that compete with imports), and to food security.

      Valeria gave the example of Ukraine. She noted that investments that were required in order to increase exports of poultry meat from Ukraine affected the domestic consumer prices on poultry. In this case, prices have increased, and it had a negative impact on food security. In this case, it is a question of balancing of interests of producers and consumers, although, in general, development of trade may have a positive impact on economy and incomes.

      Uneven or unequal distribution of benefits of trade might be the topic that has affected the majority of the participants. Many of you expressed the view that benefits of trade are usually obtained by large enterprises and investors, but not by farmers. It leads us to think what state policies are required for mitigation of negative effects of trade, reducing inequality and solving social problems, which can be aggravated by the more open trade.

      In conclusion I’d like to specify the fact that has been mentioned by many of you, that a state should play the most active role in order to overcome the barriers that we are discussing. With a lack of appropriate measures to address logistics and certification issues, problems of product quality, scattered farmers, unsustainable use of resources and so on, it is impossible to achieve the benefits of expanding market opportunities. Long-term and strategic support to small farmers as, for example, in Asia (China, Japan and others), becomes a crucial factor for the benefits of trade (according to Matraim). Ovezdurdy gives the following examples of such support: provision of information, enhancing technical capacity of farmers, assistance in sales of products, supply of high quality seeds.

      I wish to add, that coordination of actions of different state institutions plays an important role in this process (e.g., ministries of economy, trade and agriculture, customs; and sanitary and phytosanitary services). Unfortunately, economies in transition usually have a lack of human and financial resources to carry out reforms, which are required to maximize trading opportunities. But first of all, it is important to understand what the optimal measures have to be taken in this particular case. This will require in-depth analysis, discussion of measures with the community of experts and with broad population, as well as coordination of appropriate government agencies to implement these recommendations.


      Уважаемая Валерия, спасибо за Ваш пример. К сожалению, при более свободном торговом режиме одним из отрицательных последствий (в случае продукта на экспорт)  часто является именно повышение цен на внутреннем рынке, за счет роста спроса на внешних рынках. (в то время как производители мяса обычно повышают доходы, что благоприятно сказывается на их продовольственной безопасности). Тем не менее насколько я понимаю, в Украине одним из фактором более низкого потребления мяса являлось снижение реальных доходов в связи с макроэкономической ситуацией, поэтому вероятно сложно будет отделить эффект торговых соглашений (как ВТО) от других факторов.

      Dear Valeria, thank you for your example. Unfortunately, increase of prices on domestic market due to high external demand is often one of the adverse effects of free trade (when speaking of export products). (At the same time meat producers tend to increase revenues, which is beneficial to food security). However, as far as I understand, one of the drivers of lower meat consumption was decline in real income due to macroeconomic situation in Ukraine. Therefore it might be difficult to separate effect of trade agreements (such as WTO) from other factors. 


      Уважаемые участники, очень рада приветствовать Вас на обсуждении: «Изучение взаимосвязей между торговлей и продовольственной безопасностью: Каков ваш опыт?» Надеюсь на плодотворную и интересную дискуссии. Данная тема сложная, и опыт стран с результатами торговли для обеспечения продовольственной безопасности сильно различается. Но именно поэтому важно озвучить разные взгляды и использовать богатый опыт стран (как положительных, так и отрицательных), чтобы разработать рациональные предложения, которые правительства могут принять во внимание при разработке государственной политики.

      Торговля и торговая политика самым прямым путем влияет на все четыре измерения продовольственной безопасности, поскольку при торговле происходят изменения в снабжении и относительных ценах на продуктовые товары и факторы производства. Торговля сама по себе не является ни угрозой, ни панацеей по отношению к продовольственной безопасности, однако торговля создает некоторые сложности и даже риски, которые необходимо учитывать в дебатах, на основе надлежащего анализа.

      В настоящий момент продовольственная безопасность занимает важное место в политической повестке дня, не только на национальном уровне, но и в глобальных процессах, таких как переговоры в рамках ВТО, G-20, разработка целей устойчивого развития и другие. Поэтому сейчас назрела необходимость в обсуждении последствий торговли и торговой политики для обеспечения продовольственной безопасности, и я с нетерпением жду различных ваших мнений. Как координатор дискуссии, я сделаю все от меня зависящее, чтобы предоставить соответствующие материалы и направить дискуссию в сторону конструктивное русло.

      Dear participants, I would like to welcome you to the discussion: “Examining the linkages between trade and food security: What is your experience?”. I hope that we will have a very fruitful and interesting debate. This is not an easy topic, and country experiences with trade in relation to food security objectives vary a lot. But that is precisely why it is important to have the different views heard and use the rich experience in the countries (both positive and negative) to develop viable proposals that governments can take into consideration when designing public policy.

      Trade and trade policy affect the four pillars of food security in a very direct way as they affect food availability and the relative prices of goods and factors of production. But trade in itself is neither a threat nor a panacea when it comes to food security, but it certainly poses challenges and even risks that need to be considered in a debate, supported by proper analysis.

      Food security is high on the political agenda these days, not only at the national level, but also in global processes, such as WTO negotiations, G-20, development of Sustainable Development Goals. The moment is therefore ripe for having this discussion on the implications of trade and trade policy for food security, and I am looking forward to hearing your views. As a facilitator, I will do my best to provide relevant inputs and steer the discussion towards constructive outcomes.