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International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems;
With the invasion of Ukraine sparking a third food price crisis in 15 years, a new IPES-Food special report, 'Another Perfect Storm?' takes stock of the critical factors fanning the flames of global hunger - and what can be done about them. World food prices continued to see record-breaking highs in April 2022, hitting food insecure countries and populations hard. Numbers of undernourished people could increase by 13 million this year. The special report blames fundamental flaws in global food systems - such as heavy reliance on food imports and excessive commodity speculation - for escalating food insecurity sparked by the Ukraine invasion. These flaws were exposed, but not corrected, after previous food price spikes in 2007-8.
American Enterprise Institute;
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global wheat, corn, and other markets. Given relatively low global stocks for major staple foodstuffs, many analysts predict that food insecurity will increase among poor households in low-income countries. Understandably, many world leaders, including the Biden administration, are concerned about how to best address a potential global hunger crisis. However, in the rush to "do something," leaders need to consider the most efficient policies to address the crisis and avoid ill-considered policies that may do little to address the actual problems and could result in unintended consequences that may linger well past the crisis itself.The most effective way of addressing global food supply concerns would be an immediate end to the war and rebuilding critical infrastructures such as rail lines, storage facilities, and port facilities to allow Ukraine's agricultural sector access to global markets. To that end, the UN secretary general's efforts to end the blockade of Ukraine grain shipping and support the establishment of a blue corridor by sea or a green corridor overland to move foodstuffs from Ukraine should be supported. Unfortunately, the likelihood of a quick end to the war looks increasingly faint, and Russia has given no signs that it would consider granting safe passage of Ukraine food exports through the Black Sea.The Biden administration has recently put forward a set of proposals aimed at increasing US agricultural production, lowering fertilizer costs, and providing humanitarian food aid to those hurt by the sharp increase in agricultural prices. Here we consider these proposals and other questionable policies such as opening the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and conclude by discussing policies that could provide more immediate relief by addressing and mitigating constraints in the vegetable oil market.
Global food prices were already rising significantly before the invasion of Ukraine. The invasion, however, has set off another round of price increases for basic foodstuffs including grains (notably wheat) and cooking oils such as sunflower oil. As the invasion continues into the spring planting season, pushing many Ukrainian farmers off their farms, the effects could easily become dire: the UN has warned of the distinct consequences of a severe food crisis later this year in many countries around the world, notably in the Middle East and Africa, with millions of people at risk of food insecurity because of higher prices and lack of supply.The Conference Board first addressed this broad subject of food security on March 15 with a paper asking "What If Russia/Ukraine Grain Trade Halts?" That paper stated that Russia and Ukraine together "supply 16 percent of global exports of grains" and examined current global "stockpiles that can be tapped for exports, and the capacity of internal infrastructure and labor to facilitate ramped up trade. India, the US, and the EU appear uniquely positioned to step in to feed the world." However, the paper also noted that "[t]he human suffering of the war in Ukraine could potentially extend out exponentially to the rest of the globe by exacerbating global food insecurity. The armed conflict . . . could seriously disrupt production and exports of grain to very vulnerable countries."This Policy Brief supplements that paper as the war has continued and also focuses on several specific issues regarding the serious prospect of global food insecurity, with particularly strong impacts in regions including the Middle East and Africa.
2021 and 2022 have experienced sharply rising and increasingly volatile food prices. Even before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, FAO's international food price index had already reached an all-time high. Wheat prices have been highly volatile for more than six months, spiking with the invasion of Ukraine, as shown by IFPRI's excessive food price variability index. With steep declines in exports from Ukraine and Russia, global wheat shortages are expected to occur soon, likely intensifying the crisis. A major reduction in chemical fertilizer exports could devastate not only upcoming harvests of wheat, but also those of other grains. In 2020, Russia provided 14 percent of globally traded supplies of nitrogenous fertilizers, 11 percent of phosphorous-based fertilizers, and, together with Belarus, 41 percent of potash-based fertilizers (Hebebrand and Laborde 2022). Combined, these factors are putting the food and nutrition security of millions of people at risk.CGIAR researchers have conducted comprehensive analyses to identify seven priority actions that could be considered by policymakers and other key decisionmakers to mitigate supply and price shocks and to improve resilience to future crises. These analyses draw not only from past crises, such as the 2007–2008 food price crisis, but also an array of groundbreaking research being conducted through CGIAR's new research portfolio.
Public Policy Institute of California;
Recent federal and state policies may have improved access to health insurance for farmworkers, who are important contributors to California's economy and an essential link in the food supply chain. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included an expansion of Medi-Cal to most low-income adults, and a mandate requiring companies with at least 50 workers to offer employer health insurance. California also expanded Medi-Cal to young undocumented immigrants, and will soon extend it to older individuals. This report investigates whether these policies coincided with better insurance coverage or reduced barriers to health care for immigrant farmworkers.Farmworkers are aging and more likely to settle in the US with family; thus, their health care needs—and those of their families and children—will likely grow. Cost or lack of insurance are the most salient barriers to health care for farmworkers; few farmworkers note barriers related to immigration status, although being undocumented is a strong predictor of lacking health insurance. Many documented farmworkers have enrolled in Medi-Cal following the ACA expansion, which has increased coverage rates and lowered cost and insurance barriers to health care. Undocumented farmworkers have not fared as well in these areas. Employer health insurance coverage for farmworkers did not change detectably with the rollout of the ACA employer mandate, regardless of a farmworker's documentation status or whether the worker was a direct hire versus a contractor. These findings take on special importance during the coronavirus pandemic. Farmworkers have continued to work during the public health emergency. Yet with California's high cost of housing, many farmworkers live in crowded conditions, making it difficult to remain socially distant from other household members. Although emergency Medi-Cal covers COVID-19 treatment regardless of immigration status, long COVID and resulting disability may threaten farmworkers' health and livelihoods.
CGIAR has considerable experience with private sector engagement in the context of its mission to create sustainable and resilient food, land and water systems, and there is continuing interest and dialogue on this theme within CGIAR and the international development community more generally. The on-going CGIAR reform provides an opportunity to capture those experiences and harmonize strategies under the new structure, as has been acknowledged in the new 'CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy'. Commissioned by the NL-CGIAR Strategic Partnership, this report aims to identify, discuss and evaluate pathways for strengthening collaboration between CGIAR and the private sector to stimulate innovation and the scaling of these innovations in food, land and water systems. The objective is to advance private sector engagement in the CGIAR, based on transparent CGIAR system-wide mechanisms and processes.
This fact sheet examines the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, legislation to update the nation's labor laws to ensure farm workers receive fair wages and compensation. The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide overtime and additional minimum wage protections for farm workers.
This brief is a summary of policy developments that affect farmworker health and access to health care. This issue focuses on heat stress and heat-related illness.
Tiny Beam Fund;
This report sheds light on the reasons why using human rights frames and litigation has been successful in resisting a government-approved project to build a mega industrial pig farm in Mexico. It also explains the concept of framing and how it can be used to understand social issues and strengthen social resistances. There are four ways to frame the problem of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations).1. Frames that stress risks and uncertainties (e.g. the negative consequences of CAFOs for the environment and human health in the present and future).2. Context frames that work as a helicopter view that allows factors surrounding CAFOs to be viewed in a broad context and connection with other human rights cases/ abuses (e.g. CAFOs as part of larger food systems and problems with agribusinesses and other extractive projects).3. Frames that underline the specifics of a case or region, such as legal, historic, economic, or cultural aspects that are of special significance to a particular community or region (e.g. its water). 4. Situational frames that focus on actors and stakeholders, their roles, interests, and relationships, emphasizing power and injustices, and empowering those resisting CAFOs (e.g. environmental defenders).Human rights frames have advantages and disadvantages, and is only one of various frames that one can use to resist CAFOs in developing economies.
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development;
Since 2002, over 60 local food procurement incentive bills for schools and early care sites have been introduced in state legislatures, and 23 have passed. While these bills promise benefits to children, schools, and producers, limited data collection and evaluation make it difficult to assess the true impacts of these policies' implementation. Data and evaluation focused on the equity impacts of these bills are especially sparse. In this commentary, the authors provide recommendations for improving data collection and evaluation of these local food incentive bills in order to inform and advance more equitable farm-to-school policy and programs.
Tiny Beam Fund;
This report articulates the asymmetries of power and policies that give rise to corporate concentration in livestock industries, in particular poultry.Another aim of this report is to provide an analytical framework on how to research economic and global finance drivers of corporate expansion and concentration of industrialized livestock production systems in low- and middle-income countries. It explains how to map the economic organization of livestock industries from the local to global level. For example: What are the spheres of influence? How is market power concentrated in corporations? What are the firm ownership structures? What are the investment portfolios of public development banks?The framework is followed by an analysis of the economic organization of the global poultry genetics industry. Lastly, the report presents a case of how global finance and corporate consolidation is linked to the Indian poultry industry, examining how corporate concentration and public policies have shaped the Indian poultry industry into vertically integrated broiler production systems.This report helps front-line persons and policy-makers understand the pathways and power-sharing practices between international and domestic private and public capital that support industrial livestock production systems and their negative externalities. It provides evidence that they can use to identify and address power imbalance in a financialized livestock industry, characterized by spheres of influences and political clientelism between IFIs, LMICs governments, multinational firms and domestic agribusinesses.
Tiny Beam Fund;
* This report provides insights into whether and how it is possible for commercial livestock producers and other people involved in the animal agriculture sector to transition to other livelihoods and sources of income, if and when there is a dietary and market shift away from animal-sourced foods and towards alternative proteins. Brazil is used as a case study. * Key lessons learned: (1) Relatively few examples of farmers and ranchers having actually transitioned out of animal agriculture into alternative protein production. (2) No examples of transition programs supporting farmer transitions away from animal agriculture in low- and middle-income countries. (3) Potential challenges and barriers for farmers include economic viability, lack of knowledge, skepticism or judgment from other farmers. (4) But some farmers recognize that growing crops can be less labor intensive and an integrated crop-livestock farming system can be beneficial.* The conclusion is that characterizing the opportunities and risks for livestock farmers is necessarily speculative. It is difficult to state with any certainty how likely any one outcome is, or on what timescale or magnitude. Nonetheless, being proactive rather than reactive, thinking through, and systematically generating awareness of possible outcomes (both positive and negative) is a necessary if insufficient step towards being able to guide actions that could secure the best-possible futures for farmers.