Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Making US Agricultural Policy More Efficient, Effective, and Fair

The United States is a major player in global agricultural markets. American farmers account for around 25 percent of world exports of wheat and corn, and are also among the largest producers and exporters of beef, pork, and poultry. This success is partly the result of those farmers having access to abundant land, deep financial markets, and modern technologies. But as I explore in my new book, Global Agriculture and the American Farmer: Opportunities for U.S. Leadership, it is also the result of government policies that distort markets and undermine the provision of global public goods. The poor in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the negative spillovers of these policies.

Six Recommendations to Strengthen Feed the Future

Ethiopia is facing one of the worst droughts in decades, a painful reminder that food security challenges remain despite low food prices globally. Feed the Future—the Obama Administration’s global food security initiative—has been supporting Ethiopia and 18 other focus countries with projects that aim to boost farmer productivity and improve nutrition. How has the initiative performed in its first five years?

US Food Aid Tragically Failing to Keep Up

With the situation in Syria deteriorating every day, and conflict elsewhere displacing millions more from their homes and livelihoods, desperately needed food aid is falling short. Donor fatigue and budget constraints are a problem worldwide, but reform would allow the United States to help millions more people with the same food aid budget. 

Hunger in Haiti in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Two months ago, Hurricane Sandy swept through Haiti, bringing winds and heavy rain that wiped away buildings, roads, crops, livestock, and fishing boats. By the time the extent of the damage and the humanitarian needs were understood, Americans had their attention fixed almost entirely on New York and New Jersey, not the Caribbean.

Rice Prices Fall After Congressional Hearings But Crisis Not Over Yet

This post is joint with Tom Slayton, a rice trade expert and former editor of The Rice Trader
It has been a busy week in the rice markets following CGD's release on Monday of our note about how to puncture a speculative price bubble that threatens millions of people with malnutrition and worse (see Unwanted Rice in Japan Can Solve the Rice Crisis--If Washington and Tokyo Act ). On Wednesday our proposal was discussed at hearings on the world food crisis in both the House and Senate.

How NOT to Fix the Global Food Crisis -- France Says Poor Countries Should Provide EU-Style Farm Subsidies, while U.S. Farm Bill Puts Vested Interests First

And now for a really bad idea: according to the Financial Times Michel Barnier, France's farm minister, told a food crisis summit in Berne that Africa and Latin America should adopt their own versions of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy -- massive trade-distorting subsidies -- as a response to rising demand for food.

More Reasons That Congress Should Reform US Food Aid

This year's decline in food aid [due to high food prices] follows a period when the sharply escalating costs of shipping American-grown food aid to Africa and Asia already reduced the tonnage supplied. The United States Government Accountability Office reported this year that the number of people being fed by American food aid had declined to 70 million in 2006 from 105 million in 2002, mainly because of rising transportation and logistical costs.


The Economics and Politics of CARE's Decision to Pass Up Millions in U.S. Food Aid

I join my colleague Rachel Nugent in offering Three Cheers for CARE Decision to Forego U.S. Food Aid!
U.S. food aid has a long and complicated history. Most people think of food aid as "doing good"—feeding the starving—and it is often used for this purpose. However, large amounts of food aid are sold to finance development projects, often administered by the U.S. or by NGOs. And, in the process, food aid can actually do harm.

Three Cheers for CARE Decision to Forego U.S. Food Aid

Huge kudos to CARE for taking a bold and reasoned stand on how best to deliver food aid to developing countries. Kudos as well to the New York Times for yesterday's front page coverage of the CARE decision—how remarkable to see food aid so prominently featured in the NYT!—and its other recent coverage (subscription required) of how U.S. policy affects poor African farmers. As the NYT reported:

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