Research to focus on U.S. corn policies and food security in Africa
Global Development And Environment Institute
at Tufts University

Timothy A. Wise Named Open Society Fellow

Research to focus on U.S. corn policies and food security in Africa

On October 14, the Open Society Institute in New York announced that GDAE’s Timothy A. Wise has been named to a prestigious Open Society Fellowship. His one-year project will focus on ways in which U.S. policies distort global corn markets and how those distortions ripple out into the developing world. He will be studying not only Mexico and Latin America, areas on which he has written extensively, but also several African countries.
“Those distortions to corn markets come from U.S. biofuels mandates, agricultural policies, and financial speculation on commodities markets,” Wise commented in accepting the fellowship. “The ripples are far-reaching, from high and volatile food prices to land-grabs for the production of biofuels. For the poorest farmers and consumers, what seems a ripple here can be a devastating economic tsunami.”
Wise’s fellowship will allow him to focus on some of the key policy issues he and co-author Sophia Murphy identified in their 2012 report, “Resolving the Food Crisis,” and to do so in Malawi, Tanzania, and other African countries where debates over agricultural development are most acute. Issues include:

  • Biofuels impacts on land use and food production in developing countries.
  • Financial speculation from still-deregulated commodities markets.
  • High and volatile food prices, and efforts to curb volatility with food reserves and other national policies.
  • Land grabbing, for biofuels and other industrial agricultural production, and attempts by national governments to better manage their land and natural resources.
  • The policy debate over investment in high-input industrial scale agricultural development versus climate-resilient smallholder farming.

“Policy-makers have failed to recognize that we are in a brave new world in which food, fuel, and financial markets are intertwined in ways that virtually ensure continued price volatility,” Wise said. “This fellowship will allow me to examine the real drivers of the contemporary food crisis and the creative efforts, by national and local governments and by communities and farmers themselves, to find solutions.”
Wise will be writing extensively during his fellowship. To receive his blog posts, articles, and other publications, check that you are subscribed to our agriculture list; new subscribers should sign up here.

Read more on Open Society’s Fellowship web page.
Read more on Wise’s work on the Global Food Crisis
Read more about GDAE’s Globalization and Sustainable Development Program
Global Development And Environment Institute
Tufts University
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