The political uncertainty surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as the implications of Brexit, has left experts struggling to understand what their impacts will have on markets — particularly in developing countries.

Add to the mix the growing threat of trade war, and the future looks even hazier.

But what, specifically, would changing trade agreements mean for global food security?

Phil Pardey, the director of the International Science and Technology Practice and Policy Center at the University of Minnesota, spoke about this topic at last month’s 2018 Australasia Agricultural and Resource Economic Society conference in Adelaide.

According to Pardey, the largest challenges for agriculture and food security in regions such as East and sub-Saharan Africa are around research and logistics.

“In my work, I’ve been looking at big structural shifts in investment of food research and development in developing countries,” he said.

In “rich” countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, Pardey said there is a “slowing down of investment” in R&D, which directly impacts performance of agricultural sectors.

In comparison, agriculturally large middle-income countries such as Brazil and China have been amping up their investments.

“But the low-income countries have tenuous research systems, sporadic government support, and the worrying thing for me is the gap,” Pardey said. “For the low-income countries, the knowledge gap is widening. That has long-run, fundamental implications for their ability to not only export, but feed their own people. And they are not good implications.”

Read the full article about trade agreements' impact on global food markets by Lisa Cornish at Devex International Development.