Between January 2006 and April 2008 the real price of food traded on world markets rose by around 80%. The factors behind this dramatic surge are varied and, to an extent, remain contested, although fundamental shifts in patterns of demand, the effects of climate change, and the greater use of grains and oilseeds as fuel substitutes played a major role. Financial factors, including asset-price bubbles in commodity-backed securities, may also have played a role. As more recent events suggest, the era of high and volatile food prices is likely to persist which demands a better understanding of the economics and political economy of food price shocks in low-income economies. The papers in this volume, drawn from an AERC conference in May 2009, examine key issues in the origins and consequences of the recent global food price surge and seek to identify the public policy lessons for government and their international partners.