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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Publication | 2021

How trade can drive inclusive and sustainable food system outcomes in food deficit low-income countries

Recent decades have seen food markets and value chains become increasingly global—a trend that creates challenges as well as opportunities for food systems. Positive trade effects on food security are not always self-evident in food deficit low-income countries. Moreover, whereas international trade may also be used to balance regional differences in climate change impacts and biodiversity, trade can exacerbate environmental challenges associated with food production, land use and climate change. This article argues that, for trade to drive inclusive and sustainable growth of nutritious food production in food deficit low-income countries, policies and investments in these countries must focus on three key priorities: 1) diversifying production and markets to increase resilience to external shocks; 2) enhancing competitiveness and improving market access for local farmers and SMEs, and 3) incorporating externalities in international trade. The latter requires collective international action.