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Rising food protectionism: who pays the price?

Expert comment

Written by Prachi Agarwal, Yohannes Ayele

Image credit:Scott Wallace, World Bank

There has been a steep rise in food prices over the last few months across most major food categories, especially oils and cereals. Several factors contributed to the rapid spikes in food prices, including the impact of the pandemic on supply chains, recent climatic events like heat waves and droughts, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and global economic uncertainty.

Countries are exceedingly concerned that the rise in domestic food prices could curtail their efforts to maintain food security among vulnerable population groups. This has led to increasing trade protectionist measures, such as export bans.

Instead of imposing short-sighted trade policy measures to restrict food exports, countries should formulate and implement policies that address long-term structural issues.