The State of Food and Agriculture aims at bringing to a wider audience balanced science-based assessments of important issues in the field of food and agriculture. Each edition of the report contains a comprehensive, yet easily accessible, overview of a selected topic of major relevance for rural and agricultural development and for global food security. This year’s report is being published as the world is going through financial turbulence that has led to aserious economic setback. But this must not mask the global food crisis that has shakenthe international agricultural economy andproven the fragility of the global agriculturalsystem. The challenge thatlies ahead is to secure the food security of the one billion hungry people and alsoto double food production in order to feeda population projected to reach 9.2 billionby 2050.