Food Policy for Developing Countries

Food Policy for Developing Countries: The Role of Government in Global, National, and Local Food Systems

Per Pinstrup-Andersen
Derrill D. Watson
Søren E. Frandsen
Arie Kuyvenhoven
Joachim von Braun
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    Food Policy for Developing Countries
    Book Description:

    Despite technological advances in agriculture, nearly a billion people around the world still suffer from hunger and poor nutrition while a billion are overweight or obese. This imbalance highlights the need not only to focus on food production but also to implement successful food policies.

    In this new textbook intended to be used with the three volumes of Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries (also from Cornell), the 2001 World Food Prize laureate Per Pinstrup-Andersen and his colleague Derrill D. Watson II analyze international food policies and discuss how such policies can and must address the many complex challenges that lie ahead in view of continued poverty, globalization, climate change, food price volatility, natural resource degradation, demographic and dietary transitions, and increasing interests in local and organic food production.

    Food Policy for Developing Countries offers a "social entrepreneurship" approach to food policy analysis. Calling on a wide variety of disciplines including economics, nutrition, sociology, anthropology, environmental science, medicine, and geography, the authors show how all elements in the food system function together.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6343-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Søren E. Frandsen, Arie Kuyvenhoven and Joachim von Braun

    Nearly 1 billion people around the world currently suffer from hunger and inadequate nutrition. Another billion are overweight or obese. Technological advances in agriculture have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of hunger, poverty, and hopelessness, but such progress has not been uniform. In addition to these perennial challenges, new issues face the food system as well, including climate change, dietary transition, natural resource degradation, water scarcity, ethical and environmental ramifications of genetically modified organisms, and globalization. These challenges call for an improved food policy analysis that can both address their multidimensional effects and improve public awareness of how...

  6. Preface
    (pp. xix-xx)
    Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Derrill D. Watson II
  7. Acknowledgment
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  8. Chapter 1 Toward a Dynamic Global Food System
    (pp. 1-25)

    In the more than three decades since the 1974 World Food Conference announced its goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition, worries about global food problems have continued unabated. In some cases, these worries have been misplaced and resulted in misguided policies. In other cases, complacency has resulted in missed opportunities to resolve challenges. Reliable unbiased evidence is of critical importance to assist policymakers in arriving at the most appropriate decisions. The primary concern of the international community has been food security, a condition “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food...

  9. Chapter 2 Food Policy
    (pp. 26-55)

    The fragility and flaws in the world’s food and agricultural policies have become increasingly apparent during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Designing appropriate food and agricultural policies is essential in countries where food is barely enough for subsistence and rural poverty is widespread. In high-income countries, where agricultural subsidies and related trade policy have played an important role in the political arena for decades, new challenges have brought food and agricultural policies back to the front burner of policymaking. These challenges include the food crisis of 2007–2008 and the prospect of larger food price fluctuations in the...

  10. Chapter 3 Human Health and Nutrition Policies
    (pp. 56-87)

    As mentioned in chapter 2, we believe that the global food system begins and ends with human health and nutrition. We take that position partly to emphasize that the food system is a means to an end rather than an end in itself and that the most important end is improved health and nutrition, and partly because health and nutrition are important inputs into the food system because of the critical role they play in food system labor productivity and food safety. Furthermore, the large majority of past and current human illnesses originated in the food system (Torrey and Yolken...

  11. Chapter 4 Food Security, Consumption, and Demand Policies
    (pp. 88-115)

    People’s food choices are determined by many factors, of which meeting energy and nutrient needs is only one, and often not perceived to be the most important one. Food consumption is an important part of social behavior (influenced by culture, geography, and other social conditions) and differs across individuals and households (varying with incomes, preferences, cultural traditions, and local prices). In order to improve food consumption through government policy, it is important to understand the food consumption behavior of the target group and, as part of such understanding, to identify the factors that can be used as conduits for policy...

  12. Chapter 5 Poverty Alleviation Policies
    (pp. 116-143)

    One billion men, women, and children struggle to survive on less than $1 per day per person. Roughly half the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day. Persistent poverty is the central problem of economic development and, as discussed in chapter 4, a key consideration in efforts to understand and improve the global food system and derive food security for all. The greatest share of poor people is found in south Asia, while sub-Saharan Africa has both the greatest incidence of poverty and the fastest growth in numbers of poor people. Sub-Saharan Africa also has a very high...

  13. Chapter 6 Domestic Market Policies
    (pp. 144-173)

    Trading in markets has characterized humanity for millennia. Europe and China were connected long before the European Age of Discovery “rediscovered” the East with profitable land and sea trade routes reuniting cultures and people. Markets were no less important in small communities. Though American folklore has celebrated rugged frontiersmen who produced all their own goods, most people throughout time have lived in communities and drawn on each other for economic support through markets.

    Over time, products have become increasingly complex, making it more difficult for any one individual or group of individuals to produce all the products they consume. Read’s...

  14. Chapter 7 Food Production and Supply Policies
    (pp. 174-215)

    Approximately three-fourths of the poor people in developing countries—883 million people—live in rural areas, more than half of whom are directly employed in agriculture while the rest are dependent on the agricultural economy (ILO 2005; World Bank 2007a). Although the percent of the population involved in agriculture decreases as national incomes increase, many of the poor remain in rural areas, even in transition and urbanized countries. These facts imply that agriculture is, without exception, the predominant industry and source of income for the poor and that increasing agricultural productivity is a major component of a balanced, just development...

  15. Chapter 8 Climate Change, Energy, and Natural Resource Management Policies
    (pp. 216-244)

    Natural resources are food systems’ foundation. Similarly, the management and sustainability of natural resources are heavily influenced by the food system. The two-way causal interactions between them show that food systems will be sustainable over time only if sustainable natural resources management is assured and vice versa. That is not currently the case at the global level, as exemplified by widespread deforestation, soil erosion and soil mining, waterlogging and salinization, contamination of surface and ground waters, drawn-down groundwater levels, and increased emission of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, increasing international trade of agricultural commodities has expanded the use of energy in the...

  16. Chapter 9 Governance and Institutions
    (pp. 245-277)

    Market mechanisms have shown themselves time and again to be effective means of promoting voluntary win-win transactions. Where significant informational, coordination, or external costs are involved, public assistance may be needed to facilitate them. Most of the issues that come before governments, however, involve winners and losers. Governance deals with how these conflicting interests are resolved.

    Institutions comprise formal laws and informal social norms that affect human choice (Alston 2008; North 1998). They are the “rules of the game” (Friedman 1962; North 1990). All policies are institutions, but not all institutions are policies. The market mechanism is itself an institution...

  17. Chapter 10 Globalization and the Food System
    (pp. 278-304)

    Globalization is a powerful force in the world economy. It may improve or harm food systems and food security. The term “globalization” usually refers to increasing economic integration and flows of goods and services across national borders. Von Braun and Mengistu (2007a, 1) define globalization of the agro-food system as “the integration of the production and processing of agriculture and food items across national borders, through markets, standardization, regulations, and technologies.” Four increasing cross-border flows are of particular importance for food systems:

    1. Trade in goods and services resulting from liberalized food and agricultural trade policies, improved information and communications technology,...

  18. Chapter 11 Ethical Aspects of Food Systems
    (pp. 305-336)

    Ethics are the rules or principles that dictate whether certain actions or ends are considered virtuous, right, good, moral, responsible, or proper. “Ethics . . . is the rational defense of virtue” in a world that does not always reward virtuous behavior, where hunger, poverty, and inequality are pervasive (Sison 2010). Ethical beliefs have profound, yet often unnoticed, effects on our attitudes, actions, and achievements. While personal ethical beliefs influence many of our daily decisions, our ethical understanding is in turn influenced by family and friends, social norms, religious beliefs, governance structures, and media.

    As demonstrated throughout this book, many...

  19. References
    (pp. 337-384)
  20. Index
    (pp. 385-400)