Portal de apoyo a las políticas y la gobernanza

Issue paper

What did we Learn from the Bout of High and Volatile Food Commodity Prices (2007-2013)? FAO Commodity and Trade Policy Research Working Paper Series. No. 54

This research paper looks at the crises in international agricultural markets during the last decade and draws out some lessons. Although crop prices continue to be volatile, the bout of high prices/high volatility ended by 2015. The initial rapid rise of prices was not predicted, and surprised both market players and the international community more broadly. Considerable policy attention was focused on the crisis, by the UN broadly, by FAO and its members, by G20 heads, agricultural groups, and national governments. Attention by investors was also significant, as rates of return rose. The links of higher prices to growing population, incomes, energy/biofuels, dietary mix, combined with concerns for future sustainability and climate change, drew substantial concern. The main causes of higher and more volatile prices are now reasonably well understood, particularly the critical role played by adverse domestic policy reaction.

However, the impact of higher prices is less well understood. Indicators of food insecurity now appear to show less impact than originally estimated, and supply response bringing prices down appears to have been higher than anticipated. International governance institutions have learned that timely cooperation of data and sharing of policy actions are crucial in times of market shocks. The paper draws from recent data and interviews with various analysts to draw out lessons for understanding markets, the need for timely data and indicators, and the roles for governance institutions.

Policy Theme