Preparing for future shocks to international staple food prices

Research reports and studies
June 2010
Steve Wiggins, Julia Compton, Sharada Keats

The 2007/08 price spike in international markets pushed up cereals prices in most developing countries, reducing the welfare of many poor and vulnerable people. The objective of this paper is to review the policy options available to deal with a similar event in the future. Though the spike of 2007/08 is thought to have been caused by a relatively unusual confluence of factors, additional pressures are likely to apply to cereals markets in the near future, making international price spikes more of a risk — although just how much is in debate.

Coming two years after the peak of the international cereals price spike in 2008, this paper benefits from a wide pool of literature on policy options for dealing with and preparing for a cereal price spike that has since accumulated.  It draws on over 18 months of work and background papers written under the DFID-funded High and volatile world food prices & their implications project.

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