World Food Day and Commodity Markets

 

Thursday was World Food Day, a time when global food security takes center stage. From my perspective, the day, and the larger issue of food security, has always had a connection to commodity markets.

This week I had dinner with an old friend who runs the grain division of a large exporter. We talked about the importance both of an efficient physical value chain that moves product from producers to world markets at the lowest possible costs, and how this value chain relies on efficient markets to send price signals to the market and allow physical market participants to offset risk. It’s a system that is at the core of our ability to feed an expanding population, and CME Group is proud to be part of that system.

The official theme for this year’s World Food Day is “Family Farming,” which focuses on the important role of family farms in preserving food security and ending hunger. The theme also has historical ties to our markets, which began as a place for farmers across the Midwest to hedge against rising and falling costs and make a profit.  But as I’ve written before, the role of commodity markets when it comes to food security is not only an economic one. It is also a humanitarian one. Without the ability to manage risks effectively and lock in profits, farmers would simply not be able to provide food for the world.

The global population is growing rapidly, and many large economies like China and India have growing middle classes. This demands more food from the same amount of land. It’s a complicated issue — one that involves technology, energy, geopolitics, investment and most certainly efficient markets. We’ve rounded up some stories concerning these areas and others that highlight the issues surrounding food security and the importance of World Food Day.

 

The 2014 Global Agricultural Productivity report says there’s an ag revolution happening in India (Global Harvest Initiative)

Three teenagers may have introduced a game-changer for world food supply (Modern Farmer)

The role of markets in creating global food security (OpenMarkets)

An  interactive graphic shows the market forces that move food prices (Futures Fundamentals)

Food security writer Roger Thurow on why every day is World Food Day (OpenMarkets)

Why family farmers hold the key to ending global hunger (International Business Times)

How the grocery industry is using futures markets (OpenMarkets)

How to teach World Food Day: A list of resources (The Guardian)

Tim Andriesen is Managing Director of agricultural and alternative investment products at CME Group.

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