Worldwide Goals & Objectives


Departments and faculty of the University of Minnesota have focused on international aspects of food, agriculture and natural resources for many years. To facilitate and coordinate this work, we developed the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy in 1988.

CIFAP is headquartered in the Department of Applied Economics, but is open to participation by interested faculty from all colleges and departments of the University.

The principal objective of CIFAP is to provide leadership in research to improve our knowledge of the international aspects of food, agriculture, nutrition, natural and human resources, and the environment. This knowledge is disseminated in a variety of teaching, training and public service efforts.

Major Program Areas

CIFAP encompasses five major program areas:

  • Commodity and Trade Policy
  • Development Assistance and Policy
  • Food and Nutrition Policy
  • Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
  • Food and Health

All of these topics are inherently cross-disciplinary in nature. Hence the participation of faculty members from the College of Agriculture, the College of Natural Resources, the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and other academic units is vital to successful research and education.

CIFAP is firmly committed to the implementation of programs of research and education that will aid in the understanding of food, agricultural and resource issues and policies of both developed and developing countries.


With its interdisciplinary approach, the Center for International Food and Agriculture Policy (CIFAP) uses its research and education activities to increase international understanding about food, agriculture, nutrition, natural and human resources, and the environment, and to positively affect the policies of both developed and developing countries. CIFAP's leadership reflects its diversity.

The following summarizes work in each of the program's main areas.

  • Commodity and trade policy projects analyze the forces that underlie international trade restrictions; describe the dynamic interdependence of farmers' production and investment decisions and governments' agricultural and trade policy decisions; and look at the economic effects of policy decisions in other countries on agriculture in Minnesota and the U.S.
  • Development assistance and policy projects examine the impact of macro-economic policies on households in countries that face policy reform; the role of the state and of interest groups in economic growth and development; and new directions in food aid.
  • Food and nutrition policy work includes research on the effect of food safety and quality issues on food demand, on welfare, and on international trade; the impact of food subsidies and food assistance programs; and food consumption patterns and the factors affecting food demand.
  • Natural resource and environmental policy projects study watershed management, environmental policy analysis and training in Central and Eastern Europe; and transboundary pollution control.
  • Health and its linkages to food and nutrition policies related to issues of malnutrition in poor countries, and obesity and early onset diabetes in rich countries.