Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Woods Institute for the Environment Center on Food Security and the Environment Stanford University

Food and Nutrition Security in an Era of Economic Volatility

There are about 1 billion hungry people in the world, 75% of whom live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Food insecurity deaths during the past 20 years outnumber war deaths by a factor of at least 5 to 1. Estimates suggest an additional hundred million people could be pushed below the poverty line with the recent food price increases, adding to the roughly one billion people who already live day in and day out in chronic hunger. Such hunger is most pronounced in rural areas of Africa and Asia, and especially in regions prone to drought or located in fragile or degraded environments.

The recent rapid rise in global food prices and the attending food riots and shortages throughout much of the developing world emphasize both the deep interconnectedness of today's global food markets, and the fragility of past successes in reducing global hunger and poverty. FSE researchers are attempting to put the causes and consequences of the crisis on both an empirical footing and in the proper policy context, with the goal of helping inform both short- and long-run interventions that could stabilize prices at levels acceptable to both producers and consumers in poor countries.