Food Price Volatility: Political Causes, Effects on Hunger and Poverty, Sustainable Solutions

What are the effects of different types of trade policy measures on global food price volatility and what local, alternative measures can be adopted to foster food security in volatile global markets?

Summary

Poverty and hunger with their complex and interconnected root causes remain at the heart of the new Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, and limiting food price volatility is one of the central targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. Advancing the understanding of the causes and effects of food price volatility has as much relevance among policy makers as in the scientific community. As yet, the causal mechanisms linking global food price volatility and local food insecurity lack theoretical foundation and remain understudied. It is further unknown how different types of trade policy measures, which are a frequent political response to food shortages, affect global food price volatility, and it remains to be tested whether improved on-farm storage may be an alternative decentralized option to reduce price volatility where it matters most – at the local level in developing countries. The project therefore aims to:

  • identify the causal effects of trade policy measures on global food price volatility,
  • examine how global food price volatility affects local food security through transmission of global market prices to local prices, conditional on harvest seasons, and to
  • understand the effects of improved on-farm storage on price volatility on local markets as a basis for alternative, decentralised measures to foster local food security.

The consortium behind the project is multidisciplinary, involving scientists with disciplinary backgrounds in economics, law, political science, and geography. The highly international composition of the research team involves university institutes in Switzerland and Vietnam, two major Swiss development organisations (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Helvetas) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Keywords

  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Food security
  • Poverty
  • International relations
  • International trade
  • Rural development
  • Food price volatility
  • Post-harvest management

Disciplines

  • Agriculture
  • Development
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • International relations
  • Law
  • Political science

Collaborations

International Organisations

  • Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

NGOs, state- or other institutions

  • Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation
  • GeoPoll
  • Gallup Inc.
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • World Trade Institute
  • Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Center for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Relevant Countries

  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Tanzania
  • Vietnam

Status

This is an ongoing project, which started in autumn 2016. The information here is updated regularly. If you have any inquiries please don’t hesitate to contact the project team via the form below.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Matthias Huss
Coordinator
Universität Zürich

Joachim Scholderer
Co-Coordinator
Universität Zürich

Philipp Aemi
Principal Member
Universität Zürich

Michael Brander
Principal Member
ETHZ

Raphael Dischl
Principal Member
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

Marco Haase
Principal Member
Universität Zürich

Christian Häberli
Principal Member
Universität Bern

Khoi Dang Kim
Principal Member
Other

Le Thi Ha Lien
Principal Member
Other

Trang Cong Than
Principal Member
Other

Nguyen Thi Ha Trang
Principal Member
Other

Friederike Greb
Associated Member
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

Adam Prakash
Associated Member
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

George Rapsomanikis
Associated Member
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

Simon Zbinden
Associated Member
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation