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U.S. government releases "Lessons Learned" report on food security

A U.S. Department of State report called "Food Prices Crisis of 2007-2008: Lessons Learned" was released on March 3, 2011, listing factors that either helped or harmed global food security.

The report comes at a time when current food prices are rising at dangerous levels. The New York Times reported on the same day as the U.S. government announcement that the global food price index averaged 236 points in February, 2.2 percent higher than the record set in January.

Two factors that worsened food security problems in 2007 to 2008 were export restrictions and panic, according to "Lessons Learned."

"Three-quarters of the increase in the price of rice occurred in 2008—almost certainly because of adverse policy responses, such as export bans, from some major exporters," according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Export restrictions lead to panic buying by importing countries, which leads to further prices increases, according to the IFPRI.

“Fighting hunger is a priority for us and it demands our highest levels of patience and commitment," said U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  
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