Global food stamps: An idea worth considering?

It has been estimated that the number of hungry people in the world rose from 820 million in 2007 to more than a billion in 2009, following a spike in food prices; and that while this figure may since have dropped to about 900 million, about 16 percent of the world’s population remains chronically under-nourished even during periods when prices are relatively normal and price volatility is low. Government policies in a number of areas can be linked with the persistence of hunger and malnutrition, with policies on trade amongst these. These include, in particular, the long-term impact that developed countries’ trade-distorting support may have on investment incentives and hence productivity in developing countries; the effects of high market access barriers in developed countries on developing country exports; biofuel policies; export restrictions; and a number of other measures that have been analysed and discussed in detail elsewhere.