Agricultural and Food Security Policy Analysis in Central America: Assessing Local Institutional Capacity, Data Availability, and Outcomes
Performance of the agricultural sector in developing countries is fundamental to ensuring robust and equitable economic growth and broad-based food security. Yet donor support to agricultural development in developing countries has declined continuously for 30 years. This same period saw dramatic deterioration in developing countries’ institutional capacity to provide services to their agricultural sectors. These trends may now be changing, due in part to the global food price crisis of 2007 and 2008 and concerns that it unleashed about the world’s ability to feed its poorest inhabitants. This paper reports on the results of a two week trip to Guatemala and Nicaragua made by Michigan State University’s Food Security Group. The purpose of the trip was to assess two aspects that form the foundation for applied agricultural and food security policy analysis and outreach: (a) the organizations involved in research and outreach on these topics, and (b) existing data sets and processes for continued generation of data sets useful in such analysis and outreach. The team also explored the extent to which policy makers and designers of public programs solicit empirical data and analysis for the design and implementation of local food security programs and policies.
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