Food Security in an Era of Economic Volatility

The recent upheavals in staple food prices, financial markets, and the global economy raise questions about the state of food insecurity, the nature of price variability, and the appropriate strategies for international agricultural development. For decades preceding this turmoil, agriculture had received waning attention from the global development community as real food prices declined on trend. Analysts who worried about food insecurity focused on the fate of poor producers. The dramatic upswing in prices in 2007-08 turned attention toward poor consumers as many countries struggled with food riots, mounting malnutrition, and the adoption of grain self-sufficiency policies. New debates have been spurred over whether real agricultural prices will resume their long downward decline or whether there has been a more general reversal in the real price of food.