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Food Security, Finance and International Trade

How to Protect Developing Countries from Volatile Global Markets

Thomas Lines, 30 September 2010

[English] [français]

In the years 2007 and 2008, many developing countries faced an economic tsunami as a global wave of food price increases swept over their national markets. The crisis pointed to an impasse in the hitherto dominant, free-market approach to agriculture and food trading. Drawing on this conclusion, this briefing presents four alternative
ways to tackle the problem of controlling global food prices for the sake of poor developing countries’ food security:

 limiting the connections between the domestic market and the global one;
 creating virtual reserves to counter price volatility in the global markets;
 exploring novel methods of physical supply management, more flexible and less bureaucratic than previous ones;
 reducing the impact of speculation and financial INVESTMENT on price-setting.

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