The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is an international agricultural research center founded in the early 1970s to improve the understanding of national agricultural and food policies to promote the adoption of innovations in agricultural technology. Additionally, IFPRI was meant to shed more light on the role of agricultural and rural development in the broader development pathway of a country.According to its website, the IFPRI "seeks sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty."
The IFPRI is part of a network of international research institutes funded in part by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which in turn is funded by governments, private businesses and foundations, and the World Bank.
IFPRI carries out food policy research and disseminates it through hundreds of publications, bulletins, conferences, and other initiatives. IFPRI was organized as a District of Columbia non-profit, non-stock corporation on March 5, 1975 and its first research bulletin was produced in February 1976. IFPRI has offices in several developing countries, including China, Ethiopia, and India, and has research staff working in many more countries around the world.
IFPRI’s institutional strategy rests on three pillars: research, capacity strengthening, and policy communication.
Research topics have included low crop and animal productivity, and environmental degradation, water management, fragile lands, property rights, collective action, sustainable intensification of agricultural production, the impact of climate change on poor farmers, the problems and opportunities of biotechnology,food security, micronutrient malnutrition, microfinance programs, urban food security, gender and development, and resource allocation within households.
IFPRI also analyzes agricultural market reforms, trade policy, World Trade Organization negotiations in the context of agriculture, institutional effectiveness, crop and income diversification, postharvest activity, and agroindustry.
The institute is involved in measuring the Millennium Development Goals project and supports governments in the formulation and implementation of development strategies.
Further work includes research on agricultural innovation systems and the role of capacity strengthening in agricultural development.
IFPRI targets its policy and research products to many audiences, including developing-country policymakers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and civil-society organizations, "opinion leaders", donors, advisers, and media.
Publications by IFPRI include books, research reports, but also newsletters, briefs, and fact sheets. It is also involved in the collection of primary data and the compilation and processing of secondary data.
In 1993 IFPRI introduced the 2020 Vision Initiative, which aims at coordinating and supporting a debate among national governments, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, international development institutions, and other elements of civil society to reach food security for all by 2020.
As of 2006 IFPRI produces the (GHI) yearly measuring the progress and failure of individual countries and regions in the fight against hunger. The GHI is a collaboration of IFPRI, the Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide.
IFPRI is made up of the Office of the Director General, a Communications Division and the Finance and Administration Division, and 5 research divisions:
Development Strategy and Governance
Environment and Production Technology
Poverty, Health, and Nutrition
Knowledge, Capacity, and Innovation
Markets, Trade, and Institutions
IFPRI hosts several research networks:
The CGIAR Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi)
The evaluation of policy-oriented research poses a lot of challenges including the difficulty to quantify the impact of knowledge and ideas in terms of reduced poverty and or increased income or the attribution of a change in these numbers to a specific study or research project.
Despite these challenges, studies find that IFPRI research had spill-over effects for specific country-level research, but also in setting the global policy agenda, for example in the areas biodiversity (influencing the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources) and trade (with respect to the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations).
Another example of IFPRI's impact on policy formulation was the 2007–2008 world food price crisis. IFPRI was able to quickly pull together relevant research and its resulting recommendation where included in the United Nations’ Comprehensive Framework for Action on food security.
CGIAR and its agencies, including the IFPRI have been criticized for their connections to Western governments and multinational agribusiness, although its research publications have also been cited by critics of agribusiness and Genetically Modified Organisms in agriculture. IFPRI describes itself as "neither an advocate nor an opponent of genetically modified crops."