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IFPRI launches Food Security Portal and Blog

January 4, 2011

The drastic rise in food prices over the past couple of years has raised serious concerns about food and nutrition security across the world. While a coordinated response is urgently needed at both the international and regional levels, effective country-level responses are also critical. Coherent action is needed to help vulnerable populations cope with hikes in their food bills, to assist farmers in developing countries react to the opportunities and challenges presented by the rising demand for their products, and to provide information for evidence-based macro-economic policies. Since the implications of high and volatile food prices are radically different across countries and population groups, the appropriate policy responses, as well as their scale, prioritization, and sequencing, must be developed and adapted to fit country-specific needs and conditions.

The goal of the International Food Policy Research Institute’s “World Food Crisis” project is improved food security for the poor in developing countries during the current food crisis and increased resilience of their food systems against future crises. The project is building a global research-based monitoring and capacity-strengthening device for successful identification and implementation of appropriate policy actions in response to the food crisis. As a central component of the project, an open access policy information portal, the Food Security Portal, has been established to provide comprehensive and detailed information on food policy developments on a country-by-country basis. This portal is designed to pool information in structured ways and to check for data quality and relevance. The portal contains relevant food crisis response information for its 20 partner countries (mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean) and has been expanded beyond these pre-selected countries in the context of the project. The portal also includes a research-based capacity-strengthening “tool box” that will be developed to guide country responses. The Food Security Portal can be accessed at http://www.foodsecurityportal.org/.

In addition to its research and policy tools, the Food Security Portal features a Food Security Blog that provides analysis and discussion of important food security and food price issues, such as strategic grain reserves and the impact of this summer’s fires in Russia on world wheat prices.  The latest blog posts can be accessed at http://www.foodsecurityportal.org/foodforthought.

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