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Reader's Corner: Policy responses to increased food prices, sustainable small scale farming, and rural local organization

Welcome to the latest installment of the Agrilinks Reader's Corner, a blog series on agriculture issues from agribusiness and food security specialist Veronica Letelier. See what Veronica is reading this week...

Policy responses to increased food prices

The UNICEF Division of Policy and Practice published this report, "Escalating Food Prices: The threat to poor households and policies to safeguard a Recovery for All," in 2011. It describes the impact that higher food prices have on households and the policy responses implemented by 98 developing countries. It restates the significance that higher food prices have on food insecure countries and vulnerable geographic areas.

Figure 5. Local Food Prices in 58 Developing Countries, Jan. 2007-Nov. 2010

Sustainable small scale farming

Visit The AgriCultures Network for free previews of the Learning AgriCultures training resources. The seven modules of the series provide a systems-thinking approach to agricultural production within different contexts. In addition to a theoretical component with many examples from around the world, the series consists of a variety of educational resources, like articles, videos, photos, and games.

The rural local organization

Local Organization and Rural Development: The State of the Art,” a document from the past but relevant to the current development situation, was written as a Special Series on Rural Local Organization. This study focuses on local organizations, defined as organizations accountable to their members and involved in some development activities.  The discussion draws on the statistical analysis of 150 case studies from developing countries. A section focuses on things that development agencies could do and stresses that “donors can contribute resources to development projects that include a local organization component. One common use of external assistance is for facilities that train the leadership and staff of local organizations. Governments are seldom inclined to be generous with training opportunities even for their own civil servants, much less for non-governmental personnel. It is not that they oppose such training, but what they are reluctant to assign scarce resources to this purpose. This is an area where the assistance of international donors can be beneficial and at relatively low cost. The development of training materials and of training methods in conjunction with a  government agency or a non-governmental training and research center can contribute both to leadership and staff development”.

In the next Reader's corner, I will discuss some of the latest research on the link between agriculture and nutrition. Stay tuned!