FAO warns against knee-jerk food policy

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Countries should carefully examine the potential implications of any policy actions intended to tackle high food prices, as they may make matters worse in the long term, the FAO is warning.

In December 2010 the FAO’s Food Price Index reached a new peak. Richard China, director of FAO’s policy and programme development support division, said “With this new price shock only two years after the crisis of 2007/8 there is a serious concern now about implications for food markets in vulnerable countries.”

He said there is evidence that hasty decisions by some countries in 2007/8, such as export restrictions, actually exacerbated the problem.

The FAO has now published a guide to help policy makers address negative impacts of high food prices – or tap their opportunities. Although the guide is geared towards developing countries, the FAO stresses that there is no “one size fits all” solution.

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