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It has been well documented that children's early years, from birth through when they enter preschool, are crucial to their future health, cognitive, and economic well-being. Young children suffer disproportionately more than adults from economic shocks such as drought or food price spikes, as well as from non-economic shocks, like divorce or family separation. Undernourished children have been observed to have poorer cognitive skills in adulthood, are less likely to complete school, and are less productive economically.
Strategic grain reserves—also called emergency food reserves or food security reserves—have received considerable attention following the global food crisis of 2007–08. Various models for holding reserves have been discussed at such high-level forums as the G-8 Summit and have been studied by the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and other regional economic organizations. By early 2009, countries that already had such programs scaled up their existing reserves, while countries that had dismantled such policies began a discussion about re-instituting them.