By Sung Lee
Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
2011 Global Food Policy Report, IFPRI, April 23
The 2011 Global Food Policy Report is a new annual IFPRI publication that provides a comprehensive, research-based analysis of major food policy challenges at the global, regional, national, and local levels. Its nine chapters, written by IFPRI researchers and other food policy experts, provide state-of-the-art analysis.
Global Monitoring Report 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals, World Bank, April 2012
The food price spikes in 2008 and 2011 have prevented millions of people from escaping poverty because the poor spend large shares of their incomes on food. Higher food prices have increased undernourishment. As a result, progress towards MDGs closely linked to food and nutrition is lagging, particularly child mortality and maternal mortality, with 105 countries of the 144 monitored not expected to reach MDG 4.
Starbucks Backs Farmers’ Loan Fund, Financial Times, April 23
The new fund, set up by a trio including Grameen Foundation, the international arm of the Bangladeshi-based microfinancier, aims to help plug the gap. Fair-trade farmers in Latin America, where the fund will start, say more than half the $500m they need to cover their financing is for long-term loans. The fund, managed by Incofin Investment Management, aims to raise an initial $8m-$12m and reach $25m by year two. Starbucks, as anchor private investor, is putting in $1.3m.
Amid a Regional Hunger Crisis, Mothers in Chad Trek on Donkeys to Find Food for Their Children, Washington Post, April 22
UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under the age of five in Chad will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year. The hunger crisis extends across many countries including Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, and the U.N. estimates 1 million children this year will require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition in the wider Sahel region.
World Bank: High Food Prices Block Millennium Development Goals, Guardian, April 20
The Bank's Global Monitoring Report said rates of child and maternal mortality were still "unacceptably high" – partly as a result of surging commodity prices. The Bank's chief economist, said high and volatile food prices did not bode well for achieving the MDGs, targets for reducing poverty that are supposed to be hit by 2015.