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New IFPRI report

The respected International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently published the results of its predictions of the future of food access and consumption in a report titled '2020 Global Food Outlook: Trends, Alternatives and Choices'.

The 18 page report available at IFPRI website (www.ifpri.cgiar.org), predicts that progress towards eradicating child malnutrition will be slow, and that malnutrition will decline by only 20 percent over the next 20 years. According to Per Pinstrup-Anderson, director general of the IFPRI, " we have the power to change that, with modest alterations to policies and priorities, the rate of progress against child malnutrition could be more than doubled".

Data were collected and trends analysed using computer modelling to predict consumption patterns, food production and demand for 16 major food commodities to 2020. Also taken into account was the impact of a number of policy actions, including trade liberalisation and expanded investment in agricultural research, health care and education, on food security and nutrition.

On the positive side IFPRI predicts that child malnutrition in China will halve and in Latin America it will be negligible. However, the percentage of children in sub Saharan Africa suffering from malnutrition will increase by 18%, according to the report.

By modelling different and more positive scenarios, which would include a $10 billion per year investment, a 42% reduction in child malnutrition world-wide by 2020 is achievable. IFPRI Senior Research Fellow and co-author of the report points out that the investment is "equal to less than one week of global military spending"

A more comprehensive examination of the issues has been published by IFPRI in a 206 page book 'Global Food Projections to 2020: Emerging Trends and Alternative Futures'. Please refer to their website (http://www.ifpri.org) for purchasing information.

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New IFPRI report. Field Exchange 14, November 2001. p10. www.ennonline.net/fex/14/new

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