Using public foodgrain stocks to enhance food security
The recurrent global food price spikes in 2008 and 2010 rekindled interest in the use of national foodgrain stockpiles (“stocks”) to enhance food security. They were a commonly used instrument in government responses to these food prices spikes. They were also widely considered as a useful tool after the 1974 food crisis and its associated food price volatility and supply disruptions. Large stocks became a reality at the global level in the 1980s and 1990s as a side-product of farm income support policies in the developed countries. However large “buffer” or “intervention” stocks, as the grain accumulations in developed countries came to be called, eventually proved to be very costly forms of producer income support and were drawn down for fiscal and other reasons starting in the late 1990s. This report, prepared for government and development partner practitioners, revisits the issues and evidence concerning grain stocks. It starts with an open mind concerning stocks as policy tools and specifically seeks to avoid the polarization of views that grew up around the topic in the 1980s and 1990s. It takes the form of an evidence-based review of developing country experience.