International Food Policy Research Institute

International Food Policy Research Institute

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The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is an international agricultural research center founded in the early 1970s to improve the understanding of national agricultural and food policies to promote the adoption of innovations in agricultural technology. Additionally, IFPRI was meant to shed more light on the role of agricultural and rural development in the broader development pathway of a country.
According to its website, IFPRI "seeks sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty."

IFPRI is part of a network of international research institutes funded in part by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
The CGIAR is a strategic alliance that unites organizations involved in agricultural research for sustainable development with the donors that fund such work. These donors include governments of developing and industrialized countries, foundations and international and regional organizations...

, which in turn is funded by governments, private businesses and foundations, and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...



IFPRI carries out food policy research and disseminates it through hundreds of publications, bulletins, conferences, and other initiatives. IFPRI was organized as a District of Columbia non-profit, non-stock corporation on March 5, 1975 and its first research bulletin was produced in February 1976. IFPRI has offices in several developing countries, including China, Ethiopia, and India, and has research staff working in many more countries around the world.

Research Areas

IFPRI's institutional strategy rests on three pillars: research, capacity strengthening, and policy communication.

Research topics have included low crop and animal productivity, and environmental degradation
Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife...

, water management, fragile lands, property rights, collective action
Collective action
Collective action is the pursuit of a goal or set of goals by more than one person. It is a term which has formulations and theories in many areas of the social sciences.-In sociology:...

, sustainable intensification of agricultural production, the impact of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 on poor farmers, the problems and opportunities of biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

, food security
Food security
Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. According to the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production has been increasing substantially for the past...

, micronutrient malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

, microfinance
Microfinance is the provision of financial services to low-income clients or solidarity lending groups including consumers and the self-employed, who traditionally lack access to banking and related services....

 programs, urban food security, gender and development
Gender and Development
The Gender and Development approach is a way of determining how best to structure development projects and programs based on analysis of gender relationships...

, and resource allocation within households.

IFPRI also analyzes agricultural market reforms, trade policy, World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 negotiations in the context of agriculture, institutional effectiveness, crop and income diversification, postharvest activity, and agroindustry.

The institute is involved in measuring the Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

 project and supports governments in the formulation and implementation of development strategies.

Further work includes research on agricultural innovation system
Innovation system
The concept of the innovation system stresses that the flow of technology and information among people, enterprises and institutions is key to an innovative process...

s and the role of capacity strengthening in agricultural development.

Products and Publications

IFPRI targets its policy and research products to many audiences, including developing-country policymakers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and civil-society organizations, "opinion leaders", donors, advisers, and media.

Publications by IFPRI include books, research reports, but also newsletters, briefs, and fact sheets. It is also involved in the collection of primary data and the compilation and processing of secondary data.

In 1993 IFPRI introduced the 2020 Vision Initiative
2020 Vision Initiative
The 2020 Vision Initiative in an initiative of the International Food Policy Research Institute . IFPRI launched the 2020 Vision Initiative in 1993; the primary goal of the initiative is to reach sustainable food security for all by 2020...

, which aims at coordinating and supporting a debate among national governments, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, international development institutions, and other elements of civil society to reach food security for all by 2020.

As of 2006 IFPRI produces the Global Hunger Index
Global Hunger Index
The Global Hunger Index is a multidimensional statistical tool used to describe the state of countries’ hunger situation. The GHI measures progress and failures in the global fight against hunger...

 (GHI) yearly measuring the progress and failure of individual countries and regions in the fight against hunger. The GHI is a collaboration of IFPRI, the Welthungerhilfe
Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V. – or Welthungerhilfe for short – is a non-denominational and politically independent, non-profit-making and non-governmental aid agency working in the field of development cooperation and emergency relief aid...

, and Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide is Ireland's largest aid and humanitarian agency. Since its foundation over 40 years ago it has worked in 50 countries and currently employs 3,200 staff in 25 countries around the world. Concern works to help those living in the world's poorest countries to achieve real and...


IFPRI has produced the related Hunger Index for the States of India (ISHI)
India State Hunger Index
The India State Hunger Index is a tool to calculate hunger and malnutrition at the regional level in India. It is constructed in the same fashion as the Global Hunger Index 2008 and was calculated for 17 states in India, covering more than 95 percent of the population.The ISHI was developed by...

 (2008) and the Sub-National Hunger Index for Ethiopia (2009).

Organizational structure

IFPRI is made up of the Office of the Director General, a Communications Division and the Finance and Administration Division, and 5 research divisions:
  • Development Strategy and Governance
  • Environment and Production Technology
  • Poverty, Health, and Nutrition
  • Knowledge, Capacity, and Innovation
  • Markets, Trade, and Institutions

IFPRI hosts several research networks:
  • The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators
    Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators
    The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators is a comprehensive source of information on agricultural research and development statistics.-Overview:...

  • The CGIAR Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi)
  • Harvest Plus
  • HarvestChoice
    HarvestChoice is a research initiative, which generates information to help guide strategic investments in agriculture aimed at improving the well‐being of poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa through more productive and profitable farming...


The evaluation of policy-oriented research poses a lot of challenges including the difficulty to quantify the impact of knowledge and ideas in terms of reduced poverty and or increased income or the attribution of a change in these numbers to a specific study or research project.

Despite these challenges, studies find that IFPRI research had spill-over effects for specific country-level research, but also in setting the global policy agenda, for example in the areas biodiversity (influencing the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture , popularly known as the International Seed Treaty, is a comprehensive international agreement in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims at guaranteeing food security through the conservation,...

) and trade (with respect to the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations).

Another example of IFPRI's impact on policy formulation was the 2007–2008 world food price crisis
2007–2008 world food price crisis
World food prices increased dramatically in 2007 and the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2008 creating a global crisis and causing political and economical instability and social unrest in both poor and developed nations. Systemic causes for the worldwide increases in food prices continue to be the subject...

. IFPRI was able to quickly pull together relevant research and its resulting recommendation where included in the United Nations' Comprehensive Framework for Action on food security.


CGIAR and its agencies, including IFPRI, have been criticized for their connections to Western governments and multinational agribusiness, although its research publications have also been cited by critics of agribusiness and Genetically Modified Organisms in agriculture. IFPRI describes itself as "neither an advocate nor an opponent of genetically modified crops."

Further reading