Getting Good Food Policy Advice: The Institutional Background


Event details


Date & time

Friday 19 February 2010


Miller Theater in Old Canberra House


Professor Peter Timmer


Henry Keenan
(02) 6125 5559
The difficulties involved in providing developing countries with good advice about food policy have been demonstrated repeatedly but insufficiently examined. Many elements are involved ranging from production technology to human nutrition and health. In recent decades there have been numerous attempts to strengthen the links between food research and policy development but the record of achievement has been mixed. Approaches that favour ?one size fits all? and ?knowledge off the shelf? have been frequent but rarely successful. Professor Timmer argues that more effort must be made to tailor advice to the unique circumstances of individual countries. Research and efforts to use it need to focus more closely on the historical and institutional context, what is technically feasible, and political and economic realities. To illustrate typical causes of failure and to outline a strategy for greater success he will discuss a number of examples where major international research organizations have struggled to make their work useful.

C. Peter Timmer is a leading economist in the fields of agricultural and development economics. In 1992, he received the Bintang Jasa Utama (Highest Merit Star) from the Republic of Indonesia for his contributions to food security. He served as the chief outside advisor to USAID in developing their strategy on growth and agriculture for the Natsios Report (Foreign Assistance in the National Interest), and was one of the key advisors for the World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development. Most recently he served as a Visiting Professor in the Program on Food Security and Environment at Stanford University. His current research focuses on links between a country’s political and economic structure and the degree to which the poor connect to the development process. Professor Timmer currently serves as an advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on agricultural development issues.

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