David Blandford


This article discusses the nature of food insecurity in poor countries, its causes, and how these can be addressed. Disciplines are imposed on domestic agricultural policies through World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, in particular the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), resulting from the Uruguay Round negotiations that were completed in 1994. The AoA provides considerable flexibility for countries to pursue a range of economically efficient policies aimed at food security objectives. However, it limits the use of some policy measures, such as price supports and input subsidies, that can be costly and inefficient, and also has negative environmental consequences. There is pressure from some developing countries to relax WTO disciplines if such policy measures are used in the name of food security. Past experience in Europe and the United States suggests that, in addition to economic inefficiency, the use of price supports and input subsidies can create tension among trading partners due to resulting distortions in international trade.



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