Food Policy for Developing Countries: Course Lectures

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A Social Entrepreneurship Approach to University-level Training

This course focuses on food policy in developing countries with an emphasis on the role of government in global, national and local food systems. It uses a social entrepreneurship approach and involves participatory training based on classroom presentations and discussions of cases of real issues facing policy-makers. The course was developed for upper- level undergraduate or graduate students in a variety of disciplines, such as nutrition, economics and agronomy, who have a basic understanding of economics.

The course consists of a sequence of 7 lectures and a set of over 60 real life case studies, which are divided by sub-topics and support specific lectures. Following the brief introduction, the first two lectures set the stage for the course and the remaining five lectures relate to specific aspects of the food system. Links to each lecture, and copies of the lecture slides are included in this collection. Lecture videos are hosted by the Cornell University School of Argiculture and Life Sciences Center for Transnational Learning ( and require Microsoft Silverlight.


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    Lecture Introduction
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-08-28)
    This is a brief, 4-minute introduction to the course entitled "Food Policy for Developing Countries." In his introduction, Professor Per Pinstrup-Andersen describes the purpose and structure of the course, the target audience, and the topics that will be covered.
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    Lecture 1: The Global Food System and Driving Forces
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-08-28)
    The global food system consists of many local and national food systems that for the most part are linked through trade and/or information sharing. For the purpose of policy analysis it is useful to think of the food system as a dynamic behavioral system within which various stakeholder groups, who influence the system, can be influenced by policy interventions. The global food system is affected by several driving forces, including globalization, technological change, and changes in the relative competitive power of the stakeholder groups.
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    Lecture 2: Nature and Implementation of Food Policy
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-09-04)
    Policy is defined as a plan of collective action. Governments can influence the food systems through regulations, incentives or knowledge creation and dissemination. Government interventions may be needed to correct market failures, including the production of public good and compensation for externalities. Priorities for food systems vary over time and across countries but would usually include the improvement of the well-being of societies or specific stakeholder groups such as the poor and malnourished, producers or consumers. Most governments are likely to place their legitimacy over other goals.
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    Lecture 3: Health, Nutrition, Food Security and Poverty Policies
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-09-09)
    This lecture relates to the topics covered in three of the Case Study sections: Human Health and Nutrition Policies, Food Security, Consumption, and Demand Policies, and Poverty Alleviation Policies.
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    Lecture 4: Production, Supply, and Natural Resources Management
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-09-25)
    This lecture concerns topics covered in these Case Study sections: Food Production and Supply Policies and Natural Resource Management Policies.
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    Lecture 5: Domestic Market Policies
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-10-21)
    This lecture illustrates the role of food markets and food marketing in the economy and discuss the links between farmers and markets. The cases discuss policies designed to help integrate small farmers into the market economy, with emphasis on the facilitation of contract farming, collective bargaining, farmer associations, food price stabilization, and the successful development of high-value agriculture on small farms. They also discuss the increasing concentration of food retailers and wholesalers, the role of government, and the importance of infrastructure to facilitate market-based poverty reduction.
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    Lecture 6: Governance, Institutions, Trade and Globalization Policies
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-11-06)
    This lecture concerns topics covered in these Case Study sections: Governance, Institutions and Macroeconomic Policies and Trade and Globalization Policies.
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    Lecture 7: Ethics, Hunger and Food Policies
    Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (2008-11-25)
    This lecture addresses the most important ethical issues related to the food system, including the major ethical standards and their relevance for the food system and the pros and cons of using a social welfare function to guide food policies and programs. The ethics associated with policy action and failure to take action is analyzed and socially sensitive trade-offs are discussed. The lecture addresses questions such as: Is the right to freedom from hunger, as practiced in most countries, really a right or merely a privilege and is the fight against hunger and malnutrition a moral imperative or an enlightened self-interest for societies?