Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Political Economy of Food System Transformation: Pathways to Progress in a Polarized World

14 November 2023. The Political Economy of Food System Transformation: Pathways to Progress in a Polarized World by IFPRI

See also PAEPARD blogpost of 21/09 with some extracts of this book

The Political Economy of Food System Transformation, a new IFPRI and Oxford University publication edited by Danielle Resnick and Johan Swinnen, tackles the complex subject of understanding the sound understanding of interest group dynamics, incentive systems, the role of ideology and coalitions, and accountability structures.

It is  integrating insights from a global set of interdisciplinary scholars. Their work encompasses food system policy issues relevant to diets and environmental sustainability at the local, national, and international levels. The authors address a wide range of issues, including the need to repurpose costly agricultural subsidies, reduce red meat and ultra-processed food consumption, increase uptake of appropriate biotechnologies, adopt sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, implement the European Union’s Farm to Fork Strategy, adapt urban food system councils to local contexts, and track accountability for global food system commitments.
  • Moderator Charlotte Hebebrand, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, IFPRI
  • Danielle Resnick, Senior Research Fellow, Development Strategies and Governance Unit, IFPRI and Non-Resident Fellow, Brookings Institution
    "One of the key takeaways of the book is to not really ascribe normative goals to stakeholder categories. So trying to get away from food superheroes and villains dichotomies, that civil society is good and all corporate food industry is bad. Those types of dichotomies impede progress on trying to get forward food system transformation. 

    The political economy approach is necessary to identify often-neglected issues, namely contestations, power dynamics, beliefs, ideas, interests, coalitions, cooperation, and policy aims of stakeholders in the food environment.

  • Koen Deconinck, Economist, Trade and Agriculture Directorate, OECD
  • Eduardo Gómez, Professor and Director of the Institute of Health Policy and Politics, Lehigh University

Government Response to Ultra-Processed and Sugar Beverages Industries in Mexico, India and South-Africa..

The global domestic Coalition for regulatory reform [in marketing, sales and labeling] has been late to emerge. The Political Economy context may be soon changing as more activist and more research become aware of the importance of enforcing regulations.

We need more research on the different international domestic political economy contexts interest and incentives, between non communicable disease policies, to better understand why nations are not making as much progress in tackling these diseases. My comparative analysis of soda taxes versus regulatory policy prioritization reveals that more work needs to be done comparing the international and domestic politics of agenda-setting between NCD policy sectors.

  • Christopher Barrett, Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management and International Professor of Agriculture at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
  • Johan Swinnen, Managing Director, Systems Transformation, CGIAR and Director General, IFPRI
  • Discussant Loraine Ronchi, CGIAR Senior Advisor for Policy Impact, IFPRI

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