Regional Trade for Food Security
Regional trade is expected to offer additional opportunities to foster development, a good business climate and inclusive access to markets for small-scale farmers and other small and medium sized businesses of local producers and traders. It may contribute to more resilient food systems, especially where chronic or acute food shortages occur due to fragile states or natural disasters. At the same time, regional trade may bring new risks for producers and consumers.
Therefore it is increasingly important to explore the relationships between trade, agriculture and food and nutrition security more specifically at the regional level as the degree of intra-regional trade is increasing steadily, often facilitated by regional integration processes. Regional trade has become all the more relevant since the EU and other powerful blocks have started concluding bilateral trade agreements with regional blocks.
Insights and critical reflections are needed into the challenges business stakeholders meet when exploring regional market opportunities and into the impact of regional trade on producers and traders, their income and food security, as well as on consumers and on the resilience of the food system.Read more
The Food & Business Knowledge Platform will develop a knowledge agenda on this theme of regional trade for food security. So far, activities of the Platform have consisted of preparing a Food & Business Research call in early 2014 – this was a joint exercise by the Steering Committee of the Platform and NWO-WOTRO with technical input from the Office of the Platform.
The Food & Business Global Challenges Programme (GCP) will finance research projects for which proposals were submitted after the publication of the call for proposals in April 2014. At present, the WOTRO assessment procedure for submitted projects is still ongoing.
The GCP funded research projects may include a critical analysis of regional trade and/or of supporting interventions to improve and stimulate innovation in agricultural market systems. Research outcomes are expected to help the design of specific measures, practical programs and integrated policies with the aim to increase regional trade efficiency and the impact on food markets and food and nutrition security. The projects are carried out by consortia consisting of research organizations from The Netherlands and from LIMCs together with other public or private (for-profit and not for- profit) organizations1. Research and innovation, knowledge sharing and capacity development and training are integral parts of GCP funded research processes.
The Platform’s Knowledge Agenda on Regional Trade for Food Security will build on the above GCP proposals but can address other issues and involve additional stakeholders. On the one hand, the research projects funded through the GCP and their relevant stakeholders will be invited and encouraged to participate in knowledge sharing and joint debate during the implementation of their research projects (with a duration of either 2-3 years or 4-5 years). On the other hand, there is room to articulate other (specific) knowledge questions on regional trade and its relation to food security, to involve a variety of relevant networks with interest in this area, and to use various knowledge sharing methodologies such as debates, overview articles, online exchanges. The FoodFirst Vijverbergsessie organized by FoodFirst in July 2014 is an example of the latter.
Networks, businesses, organizations and institutions with an interest in the role of regional trade for food security are invited to share their thoughts about this knowledge agenda with . Your suggestions for additional articles and background papers for this website are most welcome as well.
- 1. Please read the full Global Challenges Programme documents for information on the formal requirements.