ROME – The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) recently agreed on a set of recommendations aimed at reducing food price volatility and enhancing vulnerable populations' resilience to price shocks. CFS is the international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all.

Held recently at the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome, the committee tackled food price volatility, investment in smallholder agriculture and gender, food security and nutrition.

One outcome intends to reduce food price volatility at the global level by enhancing transparency and information-sharing and strengthening the coordination of responses. The committee urged major food-producing and consuming countries to participate in the new Agricultural Market Information System established by the G20 and collaborate towards providing the international community with high-quality and timely market information products.

CFS said biofuels should be produced where they are socially, economically and environmentally feasible. Where appropriate, governments should review biofuel policies with an eye to the opportunities and challenges they may present for food security.

Among actions to mitigate the negative effects of food-price volatility, CFS recommended governments play an increased role by developing stable, long-term national social protection strategies and safety nets, aimed at vulnerable populations. It further recommended national and local social safety nets and local purchasing mechanisms be used for delivering food aid.

CFS recommended increasing stable and sustainable public and private investment to strengthen smallholder production, boost agricultural productivity and foster rural development. CFS also urged member governments to ensure public investments help support smallholders' own investments, with particular attention to women farmers.

Agricultural policies and public investment should give priority to food production and nutrition and increase the resilience of local and traditional food systems and biodiversity, with a focus on strengthening sustainable smallholder food production, the committee said.

Other priority areas needing attention include reducing post-harvest losses and fostering smallholder-inclusive local, national and regional food markets including transportation, storage and processing. The committee also called for a significant expansion of agricultural research and funding, including strengthening the work of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, a global partnership of research organizations and funders.

CFS recognized the crucial role of women – who make up more than 40 percent of the farm labor force -- in ensuring food and nutrition security. The committee affirmed female smallholders should be given equal treatment in agricultural programming – both as a matter of human rights and to promote economic development.

Achieving food security and adequate nutrition for women, men and their families should be part of comprehensive development efforts, CFS said, calling for concrete actions to improve women's health, educational and nutritional status. The committee also said that women should be guaranteed equal access to productive resources.

In other news, Yaya Olaniran of Nigeria was elected as the CFS chair for a two-year term. He succeeds Noel De Luna of the Philippines.