Food Security

Food insecurity is a pressing global challenge. IDS-Oxfam research has found that the 2007-11 global food crisis brought about lasting changes in how people work, what they eat and how they care for their families. The causes of food insecurity are complex and the integrated approach required to effectively tackle the problem is often lacking. 

Malawi Farmers

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

Social protection and food security

Fellows across IDS 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.

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year research programme, which builds on more than a decade of research and policy engagement work by the Future Agricultures Consortium. The aim of the project is to produce new information and insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in order to assess their impacts and outcomes on rural poverty, empowerment of women and girls, and food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility project with Oxfam, IDS researchers and partners found that people are no longer experiencing price rises as shocks but rather as a constant pressure, particularly as wages are not rising as fast as the growing cost of living.

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

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. 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

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

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

The Social Impacts of Crisis

How have people and communities experienced recent global economic shocks? In early 2009, the Social Impacts of Crisis project started work in 12 community 'listening posts' in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Yemen and Zambia to answer this question. More details

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View all Research Theme's publications

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Image Teaser for Evidence Report 25

The Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI 2012): Measuring Political Commitment to Reduce Hunger and Undernutrition

IDS Evidence Report 25 (2013)

Measuring the Political Commitment to Reduce Hunger and Undernutrition in Developing Countries. Supported by Irish Aid, DFID Accountable Grant and Transform Nutrition. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Squeezed - Highlights from Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility, Year 1 Results

This document is the highlights report for the first year results of a four-year study on how food price volatility affects everyday life find important changes in people's wellbeing and development. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Squeezed - Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility, Year 1 Results

The first year results of a four-year study on how food price volatility affects everyday life find important changes in people's wellbeing and development. More details

This is the cover image for IDS Bulletin 44.3, 'Seeing the Unseen: Breaking the Logjam of Undernutrition in Pakistan.

Seeing the Unseen: Breaking the Logjam of Undernutrition in Pakistan

IDS Bulletin 44.3 (2013)

After a lost decade, there is clearly a groundswell of momentum for nutrition in Pakistan, driven by a confluence of policy, evidence and events. This momentum needs to be sustained at the national level, reinforced at the provincial and sub-provincial levels, and converted into action. More details

Publication cover for the GAIN-IDS Discussion Paper Nutritious Agriculture by Design: A Tool for Program Planning.

Nutritious Agriculture by Design: A Tool for Program Planning - a GAIN-IDS Discussion Paper

This Discussion Paper accompanies a new Program Planning tool entitled Nutritious Agriculture by Design. The tool places a nutritional focus on agricultural programmes by providing a framework for programme designers and implementers to guide and adjust agricultural interventions through improved linkages with nutrition. More details

Banking on Food: The State of Food Banks in High-income Countries

IDS Working Paper 415 (2013)

Food banks provide food to charities and other grassroots organisations for supporting vulnerable populations. As such, they tend to complement more institutionalised, state-provided safety net programmes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Trajectories of Social Protection in Africa

Development Southern Africa 30.1 (2013)

Social protection in contemporary Africa is the product of several strands of social policy, from European social security systems to humanitarian relief interventions. This article argues instead for a ‘social contract’ approach. More details

Non-IDS publication

Vulnerability and Adaptation of African rural populations to Climate Change: the Case of Fishers’ Communities in the Central Delta of Niger

Climate Change 3-4.115 (2012)

In this paper we examine ways Sahelian floodplain fishers have adapted to the strong environmental variations that have affected the region in the last two decades. We analyse their vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the face of expected changes in rainfall combined with the predicted effects of dam construction. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Global Implications of Somalia 2011 for Famine Prevention, Mitigation and Response

Global Food Security Special Issue on the Somalia Famine of 2011-2012 (2012)

The famine in Somalia 2011–2012 is a call for critical reflection and improvement. To summarize the main conclusions, while the emergence of a food security crisis in the Greater Horn of Africa in 2011 was well predicted, inadequate measures were taken to prevent, mitigate and respond to this crisis. More details

This is the image for the 2nd IDS Virtual Bulletin, 'Ending Hunger and Malnutrition.

Ending Hunger and Malnutrition

IDS Virtual Bulletin 2 (2012)

The first article in this virtual IDS Bulletin is by Michael Lipton and dates from 1982. In that year the WHO stunting rate for children of preschool age in sub-Saharan Africa was 39 per cent. In 2012 the rate is still 39 per cent. More details

image for non-ids publications

Nutrition, Governance and Violence: A Framework for the Analysis of Resilience and Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in Contexts of Violent Conflict

HiCN Working Paper 132 (2012)

Part of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) series, this paper analyses the varying levels of resilience experienced by those affected by conflict, and discusses how this evidence can be best incorporated into international and national interventions aimed at securing the access to food and livelihoods by individuals, households and communities affected by violence and conflict. More details

Non-IDS publication

Climate Change Communication and Social Learning - Review and Strategy Development for CCAFS

This working paper offers an overview of current theory and practice on climate change communication and social learning in the global South with a view of informing CCAFS strategy in this area. More details

Non-IDS publication

Returning Home after Civil War: The Consequences of Forced Displacement for Food Security, Nutrition and Poverty among Burundese Households

HICN Working Paper 123 (2012)

Published as part of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) series, this working paper investigates the food security and poverty of formerly displaced persons and their household. More details

Food Safety, Private Standards, Schemes and Trade: The Implications of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

IDS Working Paper 403 (2012)

Food safety standards for the production of fruit and vegetables that are developed and administered by private sector actors have become a common requirement for producers and exporters of fresh produce in the past two decades. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Extreme Weather Events and Crop Price Spikes in a Changing Climate: Illustrative global simulation scenarios

This study uses a global dynamic multi-region computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to explore the potential food price impacts of a number of extreme weather event scenarios in 2030 for each of the main exporting regions for rice, maize and wheat. More details

This is the image for IDS Bulletin SP1, 'Standing on the Threshold: Food Justice in India'.

Standing on the Threshold: Food Justice in India

IDS Bulletin Special Issue (2012)

India stands on the threshold of potentially the largest step toward food justice the world has ever seen, as the National Food Security Bill works its way through parliament with a view to being passed during its current term period, covering about 70 per cent of households. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Accelerating Reductions in Undernutrition: What can nutrition governance tell us?

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 22 (2012)

In order to accelerate progress on undernutrition reduction we need to understand how the governance of nutrition programmes leads to successful outcomes. More details

Front page of Insights Issue 82 on Innovative approaches to gender and food security

Innovative approaches to gender and food security (Insights)

Insights 82 (2012)

Development policy and practice can both potentially improve food security while supporting women’s empowerment - but how? More details

IDS publications on international development research

A synthesis of lessons - Government experiences of scale-up of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM)

This report is a synthesis from lessons of government experiences of scale up of community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM). More details