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Policies, Institutions and Markets

When policies, institutions, and markets fail, key public goods and services are undersupplied, incentives are biased against agriculture, consumers pay too much for food, and relationships that create wealth are ruptured. The Policies, Institutions and Markets research program generates knowledge on how these three areas can be improved to help smallholder farmers and poor consumers live better lives.

From Transition to Transformation: Food Security in Central Asia


Source: flickr (United Nations Development Programme in Europe and CIS)
Harvesting barley (Kyrgyzstan)

Cross-posted from IFPRI.  April 7, 2014, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan— A conference organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the University of Central Asia (UCA) to be held from April 8-9 will explore how Central Asian countries can best meet the needs of present and future populations for adequate access to nutritious and safe foods and improve food and nutrition security.   read more...

Global Futures and Strategic Foresight Program: Second 2014 IMPACT training in Cali

Following the first Global Futures and Strategic Foresight (GFSF) workshop on the updated IMPACT model in January, 2014 in Washington, DC, the PIM/IFPRI foresight team held a second training session at CIAT in February. IMPACTworkshop at CIAT Feb 2014_GroupPhoto 5 read more...

Investing in integrated landscape management in Africa’s drylands: wishful thinking or a foundation to build resilient economies?

PIM is happy to invite all interested colleagues to join us on April 1, 2014, 12:30-2:00pm, to participate in one of the final events of the World Bank African Drylands Seminar Series, launched earlier this year. This seminar, hosted by PIM at IFPRI, will be dedicated to the integrated landscape management in dryland regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.

African Drylands_Oxfam_Pablo Tosco

Arid soils in Mauritania, 2012. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam


Pioneering online tool targets improved decision making in Iraq

Cross-posted from IFPRIoriginally published on the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) website.

Irag spatial

Screenshot of Iraq Spatial website (March 23, 2014).

Without access to accurate and comprehensive data, decision makers and researchers struggle to develop appropriate policy agendas – they lack the information they need to determine what interventions are needed, and where, and their policies may do more harm than good, or at best, be ineffective and miss their intended targets.


Killer factcheck: ‘Women own 2% of land’ = not true. What do we really know about women and land?

This blog was originally written for oxfamblogs.

Malawian women on her plot - CYMMIT picture

Cheryl Doss argues that (as with ‘70% of the world’s poor are women‘) we need to stop using the unfounded ‘women own 2% of theworld’s farmland’ stat, and start using some of the real numbers that are emerging (while also demanding much better gender data).

Cheryl Doss

Cheryl Doss is a Senior Lecturer in African Studies and Economics at Yale University and PIM's Gender Lead. She is also a member of the PIM Management Committee and leader of the PIM research Cluster on Sex-Disaggregated Data.

Cheryl is a Public Voices Fellow at The Op-Ed Project.


For advocates, nothing is better than having a powerful statistic at your disposal to use in support of a cause. In the world of women’s property rights advocacy, there’s one statistic cited by advocates more than the rest:  Women own less than 2 percent of the world’s land.  It certainly is a great rallying cry to mobilize people in support of equal land rights.

If only the statistic were true.

Unsustainable use of groundwater may threaten global food security

Water well - credit Pablo Tosco Oxfam

Refilling water bucket from a well in Mauritania. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

In celebration of this year's World Water Day (March 22, 2014), this blog tells about the role of groundwater in food security and is based on the interim results of ongoing research by IWMI and IFPRI supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM). read more...

Upcoming: Research Conference on Agricultural Transformation and Food Security in Central Asia

Central Asia_Kyrgyzstan_women

Jalal-Abad Oblast, Kyrgyzstan - Farmers harvesting corn. Foto credit: ©FAO/Sergey Kozmin

The conference will take place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on April 8-9, 2014 hosted by the PIM’s lead center, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the University of Central Asia, to unveil IFPRI's new Central Asia Research and Capacity Strengthening Program and to engage national policymakers, researchers, and development partners in its research and capacity-building activities. The Central Asia Program is being implemented in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), both led by IFPRI, and with the Eurasian Center for Food Security at Moscow State University.

The specific conference objectives are:

PIM Brown Bags: Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

IMG_0061The first PIM’s Brown Bag seminar in 2014 took place on February 27 at IFPRI and was dedicated to the topic of Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa (with a presentation of the recently issued World Bank report on the topic).  The session showed great interest among our colleagues working in the area of agricultural and food policies. We were excited to have more than 40 people attending the event in person and virtually, and made a mental note to book a bigger room next time. read more...

Index-based insurance: a pathway out of poverty?

Cross-posted from CCAFS


Index insurance may be a powerful tool for protecting farmers from the risks of a changing climate. Photo: K. Holt (DFAT, Africa Practice)

A recent workshop sought solutions to index insurance challenges

If the rains fail, a farmer can lose everything. With even the chance of a bad year, investing in new crop varieties and technologies might be too risky. Year after year, she’s caught in the trap of low production.

Weather index-based insurance emerged at the beginning of the 21st century as a new tool to help change this story. The innovative insurance scheme aims to arm farmers against climate uncertainty where traditional crop insurance isn’t viable.

With this promise, researchers within the CGIAR agricultural research partnership want to find out how this tool can enable farmers to try out new seeds and production technologies that might help secure their food supply in a changing climate.

The CGIAR Research Programs on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) brought together experts from across the CGIAR research partnership at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC 20-22 January, 2014 to tackle this question, and build new collaborations towards answering it. read more...

Gender focused research – the tools and the strategies

Cross-posted from Consortium News

Women farmers gathering during morning milk collection session in Bangladesh

Greater attention to gender in agricultural research is expected to contribute to the achievement of all four of the system-level outcomes – reducing rural poverty and improving food security, nutrition, health and sustainable management of natural resources.

Women farmers are crucial to agricultural production, especially in the small-scale sector. Figures show that they make up to half of the agricultural workforce in some developing countries, but often face unequal access to resources, such as land and technologies.

Yet although the issue of the skewed gender bias in agriculture has been widely reported, the picture might not be quite as simple as it seems – a factor that has major implications for designing effective strategies.

“While gender issues are well-recognized, how to address them is not well understood,” said Karen Brooks, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).

Scarcity of gender-focused research has emerged as a common challenge for most CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) and work is under way in many of them to develop new tools and strategies, so that scientists can understand and cater to the different implications of CGIAR innovations for the welfare of rural women and men. read more...