Food security remains a crucial issue in many developing countries, especially given recent commodity price spikes, and the impact of trade reforms such as the Doha Round is the subject of debate. This systematic review focuses on the evidence for links between agricultural trade liberalisation in developing countries and food security. It involves an in-depth appraisal of 34 studies that address these issues. The evidence indicates no consistent outcome, as 13 studies suggested that agricultural trade reform has led to an improvement in food security, while 10 studies reported a decline. The remaining 11 studies indicated a more mixed outcome. We highlight a number of issues that are pertinent to linking agricultural trade reform with food security outcomes, including how food security is measured, the context in which agricultural trade liberalisation occurs and the different methods used to assess its impact on food security. The uncertainty surrounding them underpins why no unambiguous outcome emerges from the current evidence. These points are used as a means of interpreting the individual studies. We find that prices and price transmission (the relationship between two (or more) price series) play a central role in effects on food security. We suggest specific aspects of further research needed to understand the links between trade and food security.
This is a protocol for a systematic review
McCorriston, S.; Hemming, D.J.; Lamontagne-Godwin, J.D.; Osborn, J.; Parr, M.J.; Roberts, P.D. What is the evidence of the impact of agricultural trade liberalisation on foodsecurity in developing countries? EPPI-Centre,Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK (2013) 127 pp. ISBN 978-1-907345-49-4