The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2018

Agricultural Trade, Climate Change and Food Security

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This edition of The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets focuses on the complex and underexplored intersection between agricultural trade, climate change and food security. The report makes an important contribution to the policy debates on climate change adaptation and mitigation under the Paris Agreement and the multilateral agricultural trade rules. The report discusses policies – both domestic support and trade measures – that can promote food security, adaptation and mitigation, and improve the livelihoods of family farmers around the world. Given both the slow- and rapid-onset impacts of climate change, policies that can significantly promote climate change adaptation and mitigation would benefit from deeper discussions in international fora on how to strengthen the mutually supportive role of trade rules and climate interventions.

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Adapting to climate change and mitigating its impact: the role of trade policies

Trade is key for economic growth and an essential component of any food security strategy. In many countries, there is significant potential for increasing agricultural production at a relatively low cost. For other countries with different production costs, supplying all their own food needs could be prohibitively expensive. Generally, every country has a comparative advantage in some goods and services, and all countries could potentially gain when engaging in trade. With climate change expected to alter the comparative advantage of agriculture across regions and countries, trade has an important role to play in facilitating both short- and long-term adaptation.

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