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Food Price Volatility


Spice Market, Istanbul by tamako on Flickr

How do financial markets relate to the volatility of food prices? What are the effects of speculation and hedge funds, and how do we reduce the negative impacts of volatility?

Rapid and unpredictable changes in food prices are a feature of modern markets. For some, they represent a financial opportunity. For others concerned with the welfare of farmers and consumers of agricultural products, this volatility is a problem – but not everyone agrees on what to do about it.

A workshop at IDS in February 2012 brought together researchers, activists, those working in international institutions and financial actors to discuss new evidence and possible responses. This section of the website hosts responses, reflections and materials from FAC researchers and others interested in this crucial issue.

Video: food prices - what should be done?

There is widespread agreement that poor people are most affected by volatility of food prices. But what should be done about it? In these short videos, made at a workshop at the Institute of Development Studies in February 2012, participants share their views.

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Background resources - Food price volatility

The Food Price Volatility workshop at IDS in February 2012 aims to promote further discussion and highlight new evidence on this controversial issue.

Past resources from FAC about food price volatility include a blog by John Thompson on the G20 Action Plan, and a presentation by Andrew Dorward on the case for investing in agricultural production by and for poor and marginalised people.

Food price volatility: debating causes and consequences


Following our workshop on food price volatility on 6 February 2012, three participants have reflected on the big debates: why it matters, who is to blame and what should be done.

Stephen Spratt, Research Fellow in the Institute of Development Studies, sums up the key debates in a piece for the IDS website:

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Presentations - Food price volatility workshop

Some key presentations from this workshop are now available to view on our Slideshare site - the links are below, under the names in each panel discussion.

Financial Markets and Food Price Volatility: Actors and Actions

Monday 6 February 2012, Institute of Development Studies

09.30-10.00: Registration

Morning sessions: Defining and describing the problem

10.00-10.15: Opening remarks (John Thomson: FAC)

10.15-10.30 Volatility – definitions and key questions (Xavier Cirera: IDS)Presentation: Xavier Cirera: Measuring volatility and its impact

10.30-12.00: Does volatility matter and for whom?

Chair: Stephen Spratt, IDS
Naomi Hussain, IDS
Ruth Kelly, Oxfam Presentation: Naomi Hossain: What FPV means, why it matters and for whom

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