Export restrictions contribute to global food price pressure

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Moves by governments to restrict exports only exacerbate price rises and increase food insecurity, according to the latest Insights report from ABARES.

Executive Director of ABARES Dr Jared Greenville said there were lessons to be learnt from the 2007-08 food crisis.

“Often when there is an increase in world food prices, governments respond by placing export restrictions on their own commodities,” Dr Greenville said.

“The aim is to moderate domestic prices and ease the burden on their own populations, which is understandable in the circumstances.

“However, export restrictions reduce the supply of food in world markets and increase prices, creating greater incentives for other countries to restrict exports.

“For this reason, widespread export restrictions have a negative impact on global food security and hurt the poorest people who are already struggling to put food on the table.

“We are starting to see the use of export restrictions rise as food prices begin to rise due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, poor growing conditions in major exporting countries and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Currently, around 24 countries have introduced export restrictions.

“Removing export restrictions, or agreements to avoid implementing them in the first place, can help to ensure food is more available globally and increase the stability of food supplies.

“Short-term humanitarian aid, market transparency and cutting trade barriers all help to alleviate the stresses of global food insecurity.

“And having free and open trade through multiple trading relationships gives households options that help limit the risk of food insecurity.”

The ABARES Insights: Food security – The impact of export restrictions report can be read here.

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