Another world food crisis behind the headlines on global hunger
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Another world food crisis? Behind the headlines on global hunger. Will Masters Professor of Food Policy, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University www.nutrition.tufts.edu Director , Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program for Africa www.nutritioncrsp.org. 24 February 2011.

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Another world food crisis behind the headlines on global hunger l.jpg

Another world food crisis?Behind the headlines on global hunger

  • Will Masters

  • Professor of Food Policy, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University

  • www.nutrition.tufts.edu

  • Director, Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program for Africa

  • www.nutritioncrsp.org

24 February 2011


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Another world food crisis?

Monthly average prices for wheat, maize and rice, Jan. 2000-Feb. 2011

Source: FAO Global Information and Early Warning System data (www.fao.org/giews/pricetool), downloaded Feb 20, 2011. All are monthly export prices, normalized to Jan. 2000=100, for US No. 2 Hard Red Winter Wheat, US No. 2 Yellow Maize, and Thai 100% Broken Rice.


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Food price spikes make headlines…

January 2011

April 2008


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Behind the headlines:

A century of food and farm crises

Share of all two-word phrases in English-language books, 1900-2007

1990-2007:

Complacency

1900-1970:

Cycles with an upward trend

1970-1990:

The green revolution

Source: Computed from http://ngrams.googlelabs.com, 20 Feb. 2011. Method detailed in J-B Michel et al., 2010. Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science, Dec. 2010.


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Food prices tell the story: Short spikes and long valleys

Share of all two-word phrases in English-language books, 1900-2008

1990-2007:

Complacency

Relative price of food on world markets, 1900-2005 (1977-79=100)

Source: K. Anderson (2006), “Reducing Distortions to Agricultural Incentives: Progress, Pitfalls and Prospects.” <www.worldbank.org/agdistortions>. Data shown are an index of export prices in US dollars for all major traded agricultural products, deflated by the MUV index which is the unit value of manufactures exported from France, Germany, Japan, UK and US, with weights based on those countries’ exports to developing countries.


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February 1917

Historical headlines help explain the pattern

Share of all two-word phrases in English-language books, 1900-2008

August 1918

April 1973

Relative price of food on world markets, 1900-2005 (1977-79=100)

Source: K. Anderson (2006), “Reducing Distortions to Agricultural Incentives: Progress, Pitfalls and Prospects.” <www.worldbank.org/agdistortions>. Data shown are an index of export prices in US dollars for all major traded agricultural products, deflated by the MUV index which is the unit value of manufactures exported from France, Germany, Japan, UK and US, with weights based on those countries’ exports to developing countries.


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Looking forward, is the party over?

Will food prices now keep rising?

Monthly average prices for wheat, maize and rice, Jan. 2000-Feb. 2011

Source: FAO Global Information and Early Warning System data (www.fao.org/giews/pricetool), downloaded Feb 20, 2011. All are monthly export prices, normalized to Jan. 2000=100, for US No. 2 Hard Red Winter Wheat, US No. 2 Yellow Maize, and Thai 100% Broken Rice.


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Will food prices keep rising? Drivers of Long-Term Change

  • Demand increase

    • Population growth

    • Dietary transition

  • Political power

    • Biofuels

    • Land use

    • Export restrictions

  • Environmental damage

    • Climate change

    • Groundwater

    • depletion

    • Soil

    • degradation

    • Evolution

    • of pests

  • Technology & innovation

  • Private investment

  • Farmers, input suppliers

  • Processors/traders

  • Public investment

  • Infrastructure (water, transport,

  • power, telecomm.)

  • R&D (by governments

  • and philanthropies)


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Will food prices keep rising? Drivers of Short-Term Change

Monthly average prices for wheat, maize and rice, Jan. 2000-Feb. 2011

  • Weather

  • = climate change?

  • Policy surprises

  • Ethanol

  • Export restrictions/import increases

  • Money supply/inflation/growth

  • Expectations about future prices

  • Speculation about future prices

Source: FAO Global Information and Early Warning System data (www.fao.org/giews/pricetool), downloaded Feb 20, 2011. All are monthly export prices, normalized to Jan. 2000=100, for US No. 2 Hard Red Winter Wheat, US No. 2 Yellow Maize, and Thai 100% Broken Rice.


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Focusing on nutrition:Prices matter, but other things do too!

Share of all two-word phrases in English-language books, 1900-2008

At the all-time low prices of 2002…

March 13, 2002

World: Many Hungry Mouths

Around 815 million people -- 13 percent of the world's population -- suffer from hunger and malnutrition, mostly in developing countries, said Jacques Diouf, head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Relative price of food on world markets, 1900-2005 (1977-79=100)

Source: K. Anderson (2006), “Reducing Distortions to Agricultural Incentives: Progress, Pitfalls and Prospects.” <www.worldbank.org/agdistortions>. Data shown are an index of export prices in US dollars for all major traded agricultural products, deflated by the MUV index which is the unit value of manufactures exported from France, Germany, Japan, UK and US, with weights based on those countries’ exports to developing countries.


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The nutrition outlook:Regional patterns and trends

  • Major trends by region

    • Hunger, poverty and child underweight

  • Outlook for the future

    • Crop yields and demography


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Major trends by region:

Hunger

Poverty

Source: World Bank estimates, reprinted from the Millennium Development Goals Report 2010. New York: United

Nations (September 2010).

Source: FAO estimates, reprinted from the Millennium Development Goals Report 2010. New York: United Nations (September 2010).


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Major trends by region:

Hunger

Child underweight

Source: WHO estimates, reprinted from the Millennium Development Goals Report 2010. New York: United Nations (September 2010).

Source: FAO estimates, reprinted from the Millennium Development Goals Report 2010. New York: United Nations (September 2010).


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National trends in prevalence of underweight children (0-5 years)

Selected countries with repeated national surveys

Source: UN SCN. Sixth Report on the World Nutrition Situation. Released October 2010, at http://www.unscn.org. 


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National trends in prevalence of underweight children (0-5 years)

Selected countries with repeated national surveys

Source: UN SCN. Sixth Report on the World Nutrition Situation. Released October 2010, at http://www.unscn.org. 


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National trends in prevalence of underweight children (0-5 years)

Selected countries with repeated national surveys

Source: UN SCN. Sixth Report on the World Nutrition Situation. Released October 2010, at http://www.unscn.org. 


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USDA estimates of average cereal grain yields (mt/ha), 1960-2010

Source: Calculated from USDA , PS&D data (www.fas.usda.gov/psdonline), downloaded 7 Nov 2010. Results shown are each region’s total production per harvested area in barley, corn, millet, mixed grains, oats, rice, rye, sorghum and wheat.


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Source: Reprinted from W.A. Masters, “Paying for Prosperity: How and Why to Invest in Agricultural Research and Development in Africa” (2005), Journal of International Affairs, 58(2): 35-64.


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Rural population tends to rise and then fall

UN Population Projections estimates of urban and rural population, 1950-2050

World (total)

Sub-Saharan Africa

2010

2010

Source: Calculated from UN World Urbanization Prospects, 2009 Revision , released April 2010 at http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup. Downloaded 7 Nov. 2010.


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Africa had the world’s largest increase in rural population

Rural population by region, 1950-2050

Curren rural population

Rising rural population

implies decline in land

available per person

≈480 m.

≈1.1 b.

≈310 m.

≈1.4 b.

We are here:

Source: Calculated from FAOStat (downloaded 17 March 2009). Rural population estimates and projections are based on UN Population Projections (2006 revision) and UN Urbanization Prospects (2001 revision).


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Africa had the fastest and longest rural population growth

Rural population growth rates by region, 1950-2030

Over 2% annual growth for 30 years!

Under 1.3% annually, and falling

Below zero = more land/farmer

Source: Calculated from FAOStat (downloaded 17 March 2009). Rural population estimates and projections

are based on UN Population Projections (2006 revision) and UN Urbanization Prospects (2001 revision).


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Africa also had the fastest urban population growth

Urban population growth by region, 1950-2030

Africa has had the world’s fastest growing cities

From >5% annually

…to <4%

Source: Calculated from FAOStat (downloaded 17 March 2009). Rural population estimates and projections

are based on UN Population Projections (2006 revision) and UN Urbanization Prospects (2001 revision).


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Africa’s long baby boom is finally entering the workforce

Child and elderly dependency rates by region (0-15 and 65+), 1950-2030

Africahad the world’smostseveredemographicburden (>45% )

now a demographic gift

Source: Calculated from UN Population Projections, 2008 revision (March 2009), at http://esa.un.org/unpp.


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Behind the headlines on global hunger: Some conclusions

  • World food prices are high and could keep rising

    • A spike-and-valley pattern is normal

    • Pressure for higher prices include

      • grain users’ willingness to pay, especially for use as biofuels and as feed

      • exporters’ willingness to cut their exports in times of scarcity

    • Potential for lower prices comes mainly from

      • public investment in agricultural R&D and infrastructure

  • World prices matter but other factors also influence nutrition

    • Income growth and direct interventions have helped many countries

    • Asia’s high levels of child underweight are slowly improving

    • Africa will also improve (slowly), through its long-delayed green revolution, and through slower but continued rural population growth


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For more on the USAID-funded Global Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program (Nutrition CRSP)please visit:http://nutritioncrsp.org

  • For direct contacts:

  • [email protected]

  • 1.617.636.3751

  • http://nutrition.tufts.edu

  • http://sites.tufts.edu/willmasters


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