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.

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

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

UK-Brazil Learning Exchange on Food and Nutrition Policy

IDS and Food Foundation partner with Brazilian researchers to explore mutual learning on food and nutrition security policy, bringing together parliamentarians, civil society and policy actors to discuss best practice. More details

View all Research Theme's publications

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IDS Discussion paper

Famine in the Sudan: Causes, Preparedness and Response. A Political, Social and Economic Analysis of the 1998 Bahr el Ghazal Famine

IDS Discussion Paper 369 (1999)

This paper analyses the causes of the Bahr el Ghazal famine in 1998 as a chain of political, environmental, economical and social factors, as well as a failure of public action and early warning systems. More details

IDS Working Paper

Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis

IDS Working Paper 72 (1998)

The concept of 'sustainable livelihoods' is increasingly important in the development debate. This paper outlines a framework for analysing sustainable livelihoods, defined here in relation to five key indicators. More details

IDS Discussion paper

Household Food Security in Malawi

IDS Discussion Paper 362 (1997)

Malawi is characterised in food security discourse as a paradigmatic case of incipient malthusian crisis in rural Africa. Malawians enjoy few employment alternatives to agriculture, economic liberalisation has created new patterns of opportunity for some but increased marginalisation for others. More details

IDS Classics - publications from the past

Fish and Feminists

IDS Bulletin 26.3 (1995)

Despite apparent acceptance of gender analysis within development organisations, this is still only rarely translated into gender-sensitive practice. More details

IDS Discussion paper

A Future Food Aid Regime: Implications of the Final Act of the GATT Uruguay Round

IDS Discussion Paper 352 (1995)

The conclusion of the GATT Uruguay Round and the setting up of the World Trade Organization provide a major opportunity for establishing a new food aid regime within a liberalising global economy. More details

Transfer Costs, Spatial Arbitrage and Testing for Food Market Integration

IDS Working Paper 20 (1995)

Conventional tests for food market integration ask often misleadingly, whether prices in different locations move together. More details

IDS publications on international development research

New Approaches to Famine

IDS Bulletin 24.4 (1993)

Famine is a preventable tragedy. Unlike poverty or chronic food insecurity, famine could probably be eliminated rapidly by a quite simple set of policies. Such policies might be politically feasible. So the abolition of famine is a realistic goal, perhaps by the end of this decade. More details

IDS Classics - publications from the past

Understanding and Preventing Famine and Famine Mortality

IDS Bulletin 24.4 (1993)

Famine prevention is possible but requires, among other things, a better theoretical basis, building on comparative, interdisciplinary and historical research. Key aspects of that task concern, first, the relationship between starvation, disease and death. More details

IDS Research Report

Dealing with Displacement: Refugee-Host Relations, Food and Forest Resources in Sierra Leonean Mende Communities During the Liberian Influx, 1990-91

IDS Research Report 22 (1992)

This Report is based on research carried out in the Gola forest area of Sierra Leone in March and April 1991, where Mende communities received large numbers of refugees from the Liberian civil war. It documents refugee-host relations during the year prior to this time. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Food Security and the Environment

IDS Bulletin 22.3 (1991)

There is an obvious connection between poor people's food security and the preservation of the environment in which they live. Yet there is little consensus about the nature of this relationship. Unless their interactions are better understood, there is a danger that policies for environmental protection - in an increasingly environmentally-concerned aid climate - will unknowingly compromise food security. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Food Security and the Environment: A Select Annotated Bibliography

IDS Development Bibliography 4 (1991)

This Bibliography explores the links between food security and the environment. It aims to identify material that directly addresses the relationship between food security and the environment and to indicate other literature which provides useful insights into the issue. More details

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