Food Security

Food insecurity is a pressing global challenge. The causes of food insecurity are complex and the integrated approach required to effectively tackle the problem is often lacking. IDS’ research on food security cuts across a number of teams and disciplines and seeks to inform and shape current policy debates on developing a joined up response to delivering greater food security and justice for all.

Malawi Farmers

IDS’ work on food security focuses on a number of key areas.

Social protection and food security

IDS researchers have been exploring the links between food security and social protection policies. They have recently led the production of a report Social Protection for Food Security, which was commissioned by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition. Ex-IDS Director Lawrence Haddad is the UK representative on the UN Committee on World Food Security's High Level Panel of Experts. He was one of the Lead Experts on the UK Government's Foresight Project on the Future of Food and Farming.

The Future Agricultures Consortium, a major research programme hosted by IDS, is looking at the interaction between agricultural growth and social protection. The IDS Adaptive Social Protection in the Context of Agriculture and Food Security programme (ASP Programme) which is funded by the UK Department for International Development focuses on agriculture and natural resource-dependent livelihoods in rural areas. The programme aims to explore and highlight the benefits of an interlinked approach to risk reduction and resilience building in rural areas of developing countries.

Causes of food security

Fellows across IDS including those working within the Future Agricultures Consortium have been exploring the complex causes underlying the global problem of food security including food price spikes, fair access to land and water and the impact of climate change.

The role of the private sector in helping to deliver new food security initiatives

IDS research is also looking at the role of the private sector in increasing the availability and access to food through investments in agriculture and working in partnership with small holder famers. IDS Fellows have also worked with partners such as Oxfam (Growing a Better Future) and Action Against Hunger (Aid for Nutrition) to produce new research on how to tackle global food insecurity and undernutrition.

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Accelerating Progress in Reducing Hunger and Undernutrition

This programme will focus on how agriculture can deliver better nutrition outcomes by developing evidence-based policy options and tools for businesses, governments, NGOs and donors. More details

Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Food Security

This BRIDGE Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Food Security makes the case for a new, gender-aware understanding of food security, arguing that partial, apolitical and gender-blind diagnoses of the problem of food and nutrition insecurity is leading to insufficient policy responses and the failure to realise the right to food for all people. More details

Economy-wide Implications of Agricultural Sector Scenario Projections

The aim of this project is to link the world agricultural model IMPACT housed at IFRI with the global multi-region CGE model GLOBE in order to provide quantitative analyses of the wider implications of agricultural sector scenario projections generated by IMPACT for the rest of the economy, and to enable an assessment of the aggregate welfare effects associated with changes in the agricultural sector that include economy-wide linkage effects. More details

Enhancing Effectiveness of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms in Food and Agriculture

The kind of challenges that the food and agriculture sector is faced with increasingly asks for approaches that can engage effectively with related complexities. Much is invested in multi-stakeholder platforms as they hold a potential for playing an important role in doing so. However, there is a great need to assess their contribution to inclusive and sustainable development, and to assess what makes for effective platforms. More details

Entomophagy and the global food system: future scenarios and plausible pathways

This project will look broadly at the potential implications of entomophagy (insect eating) for the global food system. More details

Food Riots and Food Rights

The objective of this research is to improve the prospects for accountability for food security at a time of volatility. This will be achieved through an exploration of the proposition that recent popular mobilisation around food has activated public accountability for hunger. More details

Food Security, Gender Equality and Peace-Building: Theoretical Framework and Future Agendas

IDS researchers have been commissioned to generate knowledge and evidence-based, actionable recommendations to governments and other stakeholders on the nexus between support to food and nutrition security and building resilient livelihoods, peace processes and stability, and how to integrate gender issues into appropriate policies and actions related to food and nutrition security in situations where conflict exists, has recently ceased, or is likely to reoccur. More details

Future Agricultures Consortium

The DFID funded Future Agricultures Consortium is an Africa-based alliance of research organisations seeking to provide timely, high-quality and independent information and advice to improve agricultural policy and practice in Africa. More details

Global Food and Farming Futures – Lead Expert Group

The Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures addresses the question: ‘How can a future global population of 9 billion people all be fed healthily and sustainably?' More details

GM Crops and Indigenous Management Skill

This project examines the effects of GM seeds on the ‘indigenous management skill’ (IMS) that is crucial to the productivity and sustainability of small-scale crop cultivation. More details

High Level Panel of Experts Report on Social Protection and Food Security

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested the HLPE to produce a report, to be presented at the 39th Session of the CFS, a study on social protection and food security. More details

Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index - HANCI

HANCI measures and ranks governments’ political commitment to reduce hunger and undernutrition on an annual basis. More details

Impact Evaluation of the PSNP and HAPB 2012

Since 2003, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) has been implementing a new Food Security Programme (FSP). In 2009, this programme was reviewed and reformulated. More details

Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility

Researching the impacts of, and responses to, volatile food prices in poor communities in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Vietnam and Zambia. More details

Participatory vulnerability assessment and climate adaptation planning for food security and nutrition in East Africa

In collaboration with Bioversity International, the Climate Change Team at IDS is designing a participatory vulnerability analysis toolkit. The work builds upon a toolkit that IDS created for Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), in work funded by GIZ (documentation currently in Spanish only). It will be field-tested in Tanzania in September 2013. More details

Programme Partnership between Irish Aid and IDS on Hunger Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

Four years on from Irish Aid's landmark Hunger Task Force Report, hunger reduction remains an enormous challenge. This will become more difficult in the context of resource scarcity, climate change, and an increased demand for food in the emerging economies. More details

Resilience, Adaptability, and Transformability of Fishing Communities in the Face of the World Fisheries Crisis

This project is a response to the initial DFID-ESRC 'Resource scarcity, growth, and poverty reduction' call and it is titled "Tangled in their (own) safety-nets?: Resilience, adaptability, and transformability of fishing communities in the face of the World fisheries crisis. More details

Seeds for food security and poverty reduction - India and Africa seed industry collaboration

Improved agricultural productivity in Africa is seen as a major priority for achieving poverty reduction, food security and inclusive economic growth. The role of new technology - and in particular seed technology and systems - is seen as an important potential contributor. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

The Impacts of Alternative Energy Policies and Energy Price Shocks on Food and Water Security

The interactions between energy and food production are becoming more important as more developing countries have started to increase energy intensity in agriculture and as energy and food prices are increasingly correlated. This project will shed light on these topics across the developing world. More details

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