This chapter explores the major reasons why production, trade, and price developments after 1972 did not result in a deterioration in the world food situation but actually provided some modest improvement for the world’s poor people. During the 1960s and 1970s the developing countries as a group had a modest improvement in per capita food supplies. The modest growth in food production per capita for the developing world reflects the very poor performance of Africa for three decades and the very slow growth in southern Asia during the 1970s. In considering the role of the market in the world food economy, it is appropriate to note that one of the important sources of price instability is governmental intervention. In particular, when governments stabilize domestic prices of food products, they contribute to international price instability. The chapter concludes by considering some of the factors that may influence prices and the availability of food during the 1980s.

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