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World Hunger Series: Hunger and Markets

The World Hunger Series: Hunger and Markets appears at a crucial time. Food prices are at high levels, there is a severe global financial crisis, and vulnerable households around the world are endangering their future health, education and productivity by reducing both the quality and the quantity of their food intake.

It is the third volume of the World Food Programme’s World Hunger Series – created to help promote a better understanding of the choices confronting leaders as they work to fight hunger.

Hunger and Markets explores the complex and multifaceted interactions between the availability of and access to food and the operation of markets. The structure and dynamics of food markets and the threats and opportunities they generate are crucial for the access to food for billions of people. Markets are critical in averting or mitigating food shortages and hunger by adjusting to shocks, reducing vulnerability and coping with crises. Whether markets help or harm the hungry poor is a function of market institutions, infrastructure and policies.

This volume analyses the workings of markets in order to identify the sources of market failures in addressing hunger and malnutrition, and to highlight the ways in which they can be improved. The report sets out the ways in which policy formulation and programme design can build on the strengths of markets to prevent possible negative effects, important reading for all those involved in the fight against world hunger.