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Chapter 1 OVERVIEW


Major Food Policy Developments in 2011


Shenggen Fan, IFPRI T


he year 2011 highlighted ongoing chal- lenges to global food security, from food price volatility, extreme weather shocks, and famine


to unrest and conflicts. On the policy front, major devel- opments at the global and national levels both offered grounds for encouragement and pointed to areas where further action is needed.


First, the good news: aſter many years of neglect, agriculture and food secu-


rity are back on the development and political agendas. Both China and India continued to expand their spending on food security and agricultural produc- tion. Some 20 African countries have adopted national agricultural and food security investment plans in which they will devote 10 percent of their national budget to agriculture to achieve agricultural growth of 6 percent a year. Te US Agency for International Development (USAID) moved forward with its Feed the Future Initiative, begun in 2010, and the World Bank Group main- tained its recent increased annual commitments to agriculture and related sectors at about US$6 billion. Te Consultative Group on International Agri- cultural Research (CGIAR)—a global partnership for sustainable develop- ment, of which IFPRI is a part—initiated an array of large, innovative research programs in 2011. And the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation refreshed its agriculture strategy with a strong focus on agricultural development in Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia. More broadly, agriculture was increasingly seen as part of a larger con-


text. It is becoming clear that agriculture contributes not just to food produc- tion, but also to human nutrition and health—conditions that in turn can affect agricultural productivity and overall economic growth. Agriculture is


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