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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.fao.org

When a summer drought prompted Russia, a major grain producing country, to initiate a ban on its grain exports in August 2010, it created a nervous stir in global markets, with flashbacks to the food price spikes of 2007–08. As media began to raise alarms about a resurgence of the food crisis, FAO moved quickly, calling an extraordinary meeting of its Intergovernmental Groups (IGGs) on Grains and Rice. In spite of the short notice, more than 100 countries sent representatives to the meeting, indicating a global sentiment craving accurate market information from a neutral source. Out of that meeting, which contributed to calming markets and averting a crisis, the idea of establishing a new agricultural market information system was formed. Its goal – reduce price volatility by increasing the transparency and efficiency of world commodity markets. Starting in mid-2006, FAO began to see a steep increase in requests for supply and demand analysis of major food crops  – not only from governments and media but increasingly from the private sector,  including leading investment banks. Recognizing this, FAO began publishing a Monthly Food Price Index in 2007, now a global benchmark for food prices, which  played a key role in helping markets keep a close watch on international prices of basic foodstuffs and proved critical for supporting governments and markets  during the 2007–08 food price crisis. Providing governments and the private  sector with complete and accurate market information and forecasts they needed for making cognizant decisions established FAO as a reliable and neutral, non-market aligned purveyor of market information. Thus, when grain prices began rising again on international markets in 2010, FAO recognized the need to provide timely and tangible evidence that the global supply situation was not as dire as it had been in 2007. In calling an extraordinary meeting of its Intergovernmental Group on Grains and Rice, FAO was able to provide supply and demand updates and forecasts, and illustrate that current supply could meet anticipated world demand. In spite of the short notice, more than 100 countries sent representatives to the meeting, indicating a global sentiment craving accurate market information from a neutral source. This rapid response by FAO proved sufficient to calm a very nervous market, thereby mitigating the potential for speculation and stockpiling which could have resulted in higher prices and artificial restrictions in food supply to those least able to shoulder the burden, especially in less developed countries. The IGGs meeting also provided a forum where exporting and importing countries could discuss the type of actions they should take in the case of future market blips. This demonstrated the importance not only of transparency in reporting but also the value of establishing trust in the source and accuracy of market data. In addition, with the 2010 resurgence of high food prices, the G20 placed global food security among the nine key pillars of the Multi-Year Action Plans for Development at its Seoul Summit in November 2010. This led to a study by FAO along with several relevant international organizations – IFAD, IFPRI, WFP, OECD, the World Bank, UNCTAD, UN-HLTF and WTO – on ways to improve management and mitigate risks of food price volatility without distorting markets. The report of the international organizations, submitted to the G20 Summit held in November 2011 in France, included ten recommendations, one of which called for the establishment of an Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS). The G20 leadership endorsed the proposal, establishing AMIS as an open global agricultural market information system that would keep a close eye on major developments influencing world markets and report quickly on abnormal market conditions, while working in parallel to improve the quality of data, market analysis and forecasts at national and international levels. In housing the AMIS secretariat at FAO, the G20 enabled this initiative to take advantage of networks and systems FAO already had in place to provide information needed to avoid or quell unfounded market crises – information that could go beyond the numerics of agricultural statistics to offer a representative picture of the true on the ground situation. For example, FAO publishes several market reports throughout the year, including its biannual Food Outlook, which forecasts world production, consumption, trade and stocks, using data compiled and analysed by FAO commodity specialists. Food Outlook also incorporates the expert views provided by FAO networks into its predictions, to fill in statistical vacuums and develop market analyses that are not just about numbers. Thus, in 2010, FAO’s ability to call upon its established networks of those involved in production and trade at local, national and regional levels meant it could respond to outside requests about market conditions with reports that mirrored the reality of the situation. FAO has also launched an initiative to improve the quality of global statistics. The AMIS secretariat includes the nine international organizations that made the original proposal to the G20, and the secretary of the FAO IGG on Grains also serves as AMIS secretary. As part of its effort to improve market transparency, AMIS has established a Rapid Response Forum with policy experts from major producing and importing countries who meet in the case of food crisis alerts. Forum members assess the market information and analyses as they emerge from the AMIS secretariat, issue regular media statements on food security implications of the situation, and coordinate the responses of the governments. Although the founding members of AMIS are G20 members – the world’s 20 largest economies – seven non-G20 countries were invited to join because of their importance in world markets. AMIS has also set up a collaborative website providing free access to market information, including a unique database tool that provides short term forecasts and accurate baseline data – data that will allow the international community to make factually based decisions for dealing with emergency situations as they arise.


News Article | November 12, 2016
Site: www.newsmaker.com.au

Cereal ingredients are mainly used in the breakfast cereals (Hot and Cold breakfast cereals). Cereal ingredients play an important role in breakfast as it helps in maintaining the taste and nutritive quality in the food product. Some of the benefits of having a regular nutritional breakfast are improvement in memory, balanced cholesterol and insulin levels, physical activeness and low risk of obesity. The practice of skipping breakfast has been reducing, while the per capita consumption of breakfast has been increasing globally over the past few years. Cereals are considered to be an ideal breakfast category due to their high nutritional and low calorific value. Breakfast cereals are mostly made of whole grains ingredients such as oats, wheat, rice, barley and other grains. North America is the largest market for cereal ingredients, followed by Asia-Pacific and Europe. Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the fastest growing market followed by Europe and North America. Increasing demand for healthier food, changing consumer preference, increasing urban population and increasing health issues are the major driving force for cereal ingredients market. Research and development plays an important role in cereal ingredients market as it helps in developing new ingredients. According to the WHO, in 2010, the number of overweight children under the age of five was around 42 million globally. Obese people are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at young age. High obesity rate among children is a major concern for parents, which compels them to keep their children away from high calorie breakfast food and opt for low calorie food such as breakfast cereals. The lifestyle of urban population is more fast-paced as compared to the rural population. Fast-paced lifestyle along with an aspiration to stay fit attracts people to breakfast cereals. Being more aware of the nutritional aspects of ingredients used in various breakfast cereals, the urban population is keener to have a better breakfast with healthy ingredients. With urbanization increasing worldwide, this trend is expected to continue for a long period. According to the United Nations, urban population is expected to increase from 3.4 billion in 2009 to 6.3 billion in 2050. Increasing health issues such as obesity has become one of the most challenging problems in the world. Palm oil is one of the necessary ingredients in the production of breakfast cereals. Palm oil has specific and limited areas of cultivation since its plantations require a particular climate. This is creating a hurdle in procurement for breakfast cereal manufacturers. Around 90% of palm oil plantations are found in the tropical countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. Prices of cereal ingredients such as corn, wheat, soybean oil, sugar, cocoa and palm oil, have been increasing continuously. According to the statistics of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the global average price per kilogram of maize increased from around USD 0.16 in 2007 to USD 0.29 in 2012, and is expected to rise further. The global soybean prices also rose from USD 0.32 per kilogram in 2007 to USD 0.56 in 2012. Cost of packaging materials such as carton board, corrugated box and plastic, and prices of fuel including natural gas, propane and diesel have been rising constantly. This poses a serious challenge to the industry in balancing its price structure. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the price of natural gas, which was 0.50 million metric British thermal units (mmBTU) in 2011, rose to 0.58mmBTU in 2012. Request TOC (desk of content material), Figures and Tables of the report: http://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/toc/2798 Some of the major companies operating in the cereal ingredients market are Associated British Food Plc, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bunge Limited, SunOpta Inc and Cargill Inc.


Cereal ingredients are mainly used in the breakfast cereals (Hot and Cold breakfast cereals). Cereal ingredients play an important role in breakfast as it helps in maintaining the taste and nutritive quality in the food product. Some of the benefits of having a regular nutritional breakfast are improvement in memory, balanced cholesterol and insulin levels, physical activeness and low risk of obesity. The practice of skipping breakfast has been reducing, while the per capita consumption of breakfast has been increasing globally over the past few years. Cereals are considered to be an ideal breakfast category due to their high nutritional and low calorific value. Breakfast cereals are mostly made of whole grains ingredients such as oats, wheat, rice, barley and other grains. North America is the largest market for cereal ingredients, followed by Asia-Pacific and Europe. Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the fastest growing market followed by Europe and North America. Increasing demand for healthier food, changing consumer preference, increasing urban population and increasing health issues are the major driving force for cereal ingredients market. Research and development plays an important role in cereal ingredients market as it helps in developing new ingredients. According to the WHO, in 2010, the number of overweight children under the age of five was around 42 million globally. Obese people are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at young age. High obesity rate among children is a major concern for parents, which compels them to keep their children away from high calorie breakfast food and opt for low calorie food such as breakfast cereals. The lifestyle of urban population is more fast-paced as compared to the rural population. Fast-paced lifestyle along with an aspiration to stay fit attracts people to breakfast cereals. Being more aware of the nutritional aspects of ingredients used in various breakfast cereals, the urban population is keener to have a better breakfast with healthy ingredients. With urbanization increasing worldwide, this trend is expected to continue for a long period. According to the United Nations, urban population is expected to increase from 3.4 billion in 2009 to 6.3 billion in 2050. Increasing health issues such as obesity has become one of the most challenging problems in the world. Palm oil is one of the necessary ingredients in the production of breakfast cereals. Palm oil has specific and limited areas of cultivation since its plantations require a particular climate. This is creating a hurdle in procurement for breakfast cereal manufacturers. Around 90% of palm oil plantations are found in the tropical countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. Prices of cereal ingredients such as corn, wheat, soybean oil, sugar, cocoa and palm oil, have been increasing continuously. According to the statistics of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the global average price per kilogram of maize increased from around USD 0.16 in 2007 to USD 0.29 in 2012, and is expected to rise further. The global soybean prices also rose from USD 0.32 per kilogram in 2007 to USD 0.56 in 2012. Cost of packaging materials such as carton board, corrugated box and plastic, and prices of fuel including natural gas, propane and diesel have been rising constantly. This poses a serious challenge to the industry in balancing its price structure. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the price of natural gas, which was 0.50 million metric British thermal units (mmBTU) in 2011, rose to 0.58mmBTU in 2012. Some of the major companies operating in the cereal ingredients market are Associated British Food Plc, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bunge Limited, SunOpta Inc and Cargill Inc.


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A multipronged approach to supporting healthy breastfeeding among new mothers was effective when implemented at the population level, according to research published in PLOS Medicine. In cluster-randomized evaluations of two programs in Viet Nam and Bangladesh, Purnima Menon of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC, and colleagues compared the effect of a program combining intensive interpersonal counseling (IPC), mass media (MM), and community mobilization (CM) to encourage breastfeeding (intensive group) to that of standard nutrition counseling and less intensive MM and CM (non-intensive group). In Bangladesh IPC was delivered through a large non-governmental health program, while in Viet Nam it was integrated into government health facilities. The researchers compared surveyed breastfeeding practices in households with children less than 6 months old before the interventions started and again four years later. They found positive population-level impacts on breastfeeding practices, including higher rates of early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding, and lower use of prelacteal feeding and bottle feeding, in areas that received the intensive package compared to areas that received the non-intensive program. In Bangladesh, the percentage of mothers reporting exclusive breastfeeding rose from 48.5% to 87.6% in areas receiving the intensive program, and in Viet Nam the EBF prevalence rose from 18.9% to 57.8%. This is compared to much smaller changes in the areas with the non-intensive program (51.2% to 53.5% in Bangladesh and 17.8% to 28.4% in Viet Nam). The authors note that the findings are reliant on self-reporting of the mothers, who may have felt pressure to report "desirable" behavior, and the surveys only asked the mothers to report their behavior from the previous day, and thus would not capture day-to-day fluctuations in breastfeeding practices. However, they note that this study "shows that comprehensive behavior change strategies implemented at scale, under real-life conditions, and delivered through outreach-based (Bangladesh) and facility-based (Viet Nam) platforms have strong and significant impacts on breastfeeding practices." Funding for this evaluation and the implementation of the interventions was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, through Alive & Thrive, managed by FHI360; additional financial support to the evaluation study was provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. JB, TS, NH, SA, KA and RH are part of the implementation team who delivered the interventions described in this paper. They helped conceive and design the study, but played no role in research data collection or data analysis. Their contributions to this manuscript included written inputs to sections on intervention design, critical in-person discussions regarding interpretation of results, and written review of manuscript drafts. Final decisions about results to include, interpretation and conclusions rested with authors from the evaluation team (PM, RR, EAF, MR, PN, KKS, AKh, AKn, LTM). Menon P, Nguyen PH, Saha KK, Khaled A, Kennedy A, Tran LM, et al. (2016) Impacts on Breastfeeding Practices of At-Scale Strategies That Combine Intensive Interpersonal Counseling, Mass Media, and Community Mobilization: Results of Cluster-Randomized Program Evaluations in Bangladesh and Viet Nam. PLoS Med 13(10): e1002159. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002159 Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America Alive & Thrive, FHI360, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America Save the Children, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, United States of America IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER:


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Washington D.C., Oct. 24, 2016--A new study has found that vitamin A-biofortified orange maize significantly improves visual functions in children. The study was conducted among school-aged children (4 to 8 years old) in rural Zambia. Children who ate orange maize showed improved night vision within six months. Their eyes adapted better in the dark, improving their ability to engage in optimal day-to-day activities under dim light, such as during dusk and dawn. The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition. "It shows that in populations that are vitamin A deficient, the eyes can respond well to a good source of vitamin A such as orange maize in a fairly short span of time," says lead author Amanda Palmer of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It also validates the importance of orange maize for tackling vitamin A deficiency as part of a food-based approach." Vitamin A deficiency occurs on a continuum. Severe vitamin A deficiency with blinding eye disease and a high risk of death from otherwise curable infections is at one end of the spectrum. But, less severe, incipient vitamin A deficiency -- also an important underlying cause of child deaths--is more frequent and difficult to detect. According to the World Health Organization, lack of sufficient vitamin A blinds up to 500,000 children worldwide every year. Impairment of the eyes' ability to adapt to low-light conditions is one of the few measurable signs of vitamin A deficiency at its initial stages. In this study scientists used specialized portable equipment to confirm the benefit of eating vitamin A-rich orange maize in a population with marginal deficiency. "It is an impressive advancement that with portable, more user-friendly equipment scientists are now able to accurately record the changing size of the pupils of the children's eyes," says Erick Boy, Head of Nutrition at HarvestPlus and a pediatrician by training. "In this study, the researchers documented how children's eyes responded to different light conditions before and after a six-month feeding period. This used to be a much more cumbersome task until now." Testing for vitamin A deficiency is problematic because blood collection can prove difficult in rural settings. Levels of vitamin A in the blood may also be affected by other factors, such as infections. Rapid, reliable and non-invasive tools to measure the positive impact of nutritional interventions on the vision of those suffering from marginal deficiency were practically unavailable before this study. Scientists in this study used a new device called a Portable Field Dark Adaptometer (PFDA). The PFDA is a set of goggles manufactured with a digital camera and flash inside. The goggles are connected to a desktop or laptop computer, which can accurately record the response of the pupil in each eye to changing light conditions. The Johns Hopkins team is the first to use this device on a large scale. "Until now, most of the tools and techniques used to measure night vision have relied on dark rooms, which are impractical in rural field settings. And, results were subjective," says Palmer. "With PFDA we don't need a tent or a dark room and it gives accurate results for people aged 3-4 years or older." This randomized efficacy study was conducted in Zambia's Mkushi District among children who were marginally vitamin A deficient. They were served two meals per day, six days a week for six months. Half of the children got meals made from biofortified orange maize, while the other half consumed white maize meals. The children wore PFDA goggles to record pupil response. "We measured the responsiveness of the pupil to light and calculated the change in pupil size over a period of time. These goggles enabled us to monitor something that was not possible before," says Palmer. The biofortified orange maize used in this study was conventionally bred to have higher levels of beta-carotene, a naturally occurring plant pigment that the body converts into vitamin A with higher efficiency as the body stores of the vitamin decrease. More about orange maize in Zambia The Zambian Government is actively promoting vitamin A-rich orange maize developed by HarvestPlus and its partners through conventional plant breeding methods. Maize is a staple food in Zambia and its enrichment can help combat the rampant problem of vitamin A deficiency, whose ill effects can include stunted growth and blindness. Zambia has banned the export of orange maize so that nutritious maize stays in the country to nourish its own people. The country's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has included orange maize seeds as one of the material supplies that can be procured under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). The ministry is urging farmers, millers, and seed companies to become ambassadors and advocates of biofortified nutritious maize. This message is reaching Zambians. The adoption rate for orange maize is fairly high in Zambia, and HarvestPlus expects that at least 600,000 households will have adopted the crop by 2020. More about orange maize in Zimbabwe Zimbabwe has become the latest African country to move toward making biofortified nutritious crops widely available to farmers and consumers. On August 18, 2016, the Zimbabwean Government officially launched widespread distribution and marketing of biofortified crop seeds under a project implemented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). HarvestPlus is a strategic partner and technical advisor to the project. Two biofortified crops -- vitamin A orange maize, and iron and zinc beans -- have already been released, with seeds expected to be available across the country in readiness for the 2016/2017 planting season. Farmers in the country can now access one variety of the orange maize and two of the iron and zinc beans, but will soon have more to choose from when varieties already in the pipeline are released. HarvestPlus improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and providing global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by its 15 research centers in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. The HarvestPlus program is coordinated by two of these centers, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


Agriculture in Gujarat has grown rapidly over the last decade, driven at least partly by diversification to high value crops and dairying. High value agriculture requires better water control and offers higher returns for irrigation. Farmers, farm communities and the state government in Gujarat have responded to this requirement by implementing large-scale water supply and demand management projects like interlinking of rivers, the world's largest popular recharge movement, electricity distribution reforms to limit use of subsidized energy for groundwater irrigation and rapid expansion of areas under micro-irrigation. Some of these programmes have already been declared successful and are being scaled up in Gujarat (like the Saurashtra recharge movement) and emulated elsewhere (like the Jyotirgram Yojana) without much critical scrutiny. Other programmes like the initiative to spread micro-irrigation have not received the attention they deserve from the research community in spite of their apparent success. This paper subjects the biggest on-going supply- and demand-side initiatives for water management in Gujarat to critical scrutiny in light of the recent data and tries to draw lessons for the state and other parts of India facing sustainable water management challenges. © IWA Publishing 2013.


Maystadt J.-F.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Ecker O.,IFPRI
American Journal of Agricultural Economics | Year: 2014

A growing body of evidence shows a causal relationship between extreme weather events and civil conflict incidence at the global level. We find that this causality is also valid for droughts and local violent conflicts in a within-country setting over a short time frame in the case of Somalia. We estimate that a one standard deviation increase in drought intensity and length raises the likelihood of conflict by 62%. We also find that drought affects conflict through livestock price changes, establishing livestock markets as the primary channel of transmission in Somalia. © The Author (2014).


The Malmquist index has become extensively used in international comparisons of agricultural productivity since it does not require prices for its estimation, which are normally not available. However, the data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach used to estimate this index still uses implicit price information. This entails potential problems because these methods are susceptible to the effect of data noise, and shadow prices can prove to be inconsistent with prior knowledge on cost shares. In this article, we analyze implicit input shadow shares used in the DEA approach to estimate agricultural productivity using the Malmquist index for 63 developing countries. We then set bounds to the implicit input shares by introducing information on their likely value and compare constrained and unconstrained input shares. We conclude that the incidence of zero shadow prices justifies the introduction of constraints in the estimation of the Malmquist index. The article also presents detailed results of TFP growth in developing countries using constrained shadow shares for their estimation. We find that agricultural TFP has been growing steadily in the past 20 years even if countries like China, Brazil, and India are not considered. Remarkably, we find a clear improvement in the performance of Sub-Saharan Africa since the mid 1980s. © 2010 International Association of Agricultural Economists.


Cudjoe G.,Ghana Strategy Support Program GSSP | Breisinger C.,IFPRI | Diao X.,IFPRI
Food Policy | Year: 2010

This paper takes a local perspective on global food price shocks by analyzing food price transmission between regional markets in Ghana. It also assesses the impacts of food price increases on various household groups. Taking the 2007-2008 global food crisis as an example, we show that prices for domestic grain products are highly correlated with world market prices. This is true both for products for which Ghana is highly import-dependent (e.g., rice) and the products for which Ghana is self-sufficient (e.g., maize). The econometric results also show that price transmission is high between regional producer markets and markets located in the country's largest cities, and the distance between producer and consumer markets and the size of consumer markets matter in explaining the price transmission. The welfare analysis for households as consumers shows that the effect of world food prices appears relatively modest for the country as a whole due to relatively diverse consumption patterns within country. However, the national average hides important regional differences, both between regions and within different income groups. We find that the poorest of the poor-particularly those living in the urban areas-are hardest hit by high food prices. The negative effect of the food crisis is particularly strong in northern Ghana. The main explanations for this regional variation in the price effect is the different consumption patterns and much lower per capita income levels in the North of Ghana compared to other regions in the country. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Minten B.,IFPRI | Stifel D.,Lafayette College | Tamru S.,Catholic University of Leuven
Journal of Development Studies | Year: 2014

We study cereal markets in Ethiopia over the last decade, a period that has been characterised by important local changes, including strong economic growth, urbanisation, improved road and communication infrastructure, and higher adoption of modern inputs in agriculture. These changes are associated with better spatial price integration as well as with significant declines in real price differences between supplying and receiving markets and in cereal milling and retail margins. In short, important improvements have occurred in Ethiopia's cereal marketing system. This is especially important because dysfunctional cereal markets were previously identified as an important cause of food insecurity in the country. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

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