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Enough Food to Feed People But Policies Interfere

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 4:28 PM by Iowa Corn

Source: High PlainsJournal, April 29, 2013

The world’s population is growing rapidly and is expected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050.  “The world can produce enough food to feed this growing population, but the problem is inappropriate policies,” said Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy and Professor of Applied Economics at Cornell University. 

Food prices have been fluctuating since 2007, and are likely to continue, creating a challenge for the world’s policymakers.  In today's environment, consumers and producers need to be concerned about the price fluctuations because it signifies a competitive environment.  Too much volatility can hurt producers because they tend to invest less and use fewer inputs to produce their crops.

As the demand for food creates an inelastic market, small changes in supply can lead to big changes in prices.  Pinstrup-Andersen said he expects large fluctuations in food prices to continue and perhaps get worse because of climate change, governmental policy, speculation, reduced grain stocks and use of grain in biofuels.

In order to limit market volatility, more market friendly approaches are needed such as, yield enhancing investments and trade policies.  Pinstrup-Andersen said more money must be invested in research and technology, including genetic modification. He also called for more investment in rural infrastructures in developing countries; orderly trade policies; rules governing land acquisition; and antitrust legislation.
The increase in food prices is a result of overlooking agriculture.  As the demand for food continues to rise faster than yield growth, markets will remain tight and prices will remain high and volatile. 

Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy and Professor of Applied Economics at Cornell University served 10 years at the International Food Policy Research Institute’s director general in Washington, D.C. and seven years as a department head. 

The World Food Prize Foundation, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa was founded by Norman Borlaug.  Dr. Borlaug was a crop scientist who is known for his lifetime of work devoted to improving food production.  One of Borlaug’s greatest achievements was his unending struggle to bring together various steams of agricultural research into viable technologies and systems, and to convince political leaders to bring these advances to fruition. The World Food Prize emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people and honors those who have worked towards this goal. 

On October 15, 2013, leaders from across Iowa representing community organizations, business and industry, state and local government, social agencies, churches and religious communities, schools and universities, and other individuals and groups will  participate in projects to confront hunger.  To find out more about events happening during this week visit www.worldfoodprize.org.  

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