Southern Africa (ex Zimbabwe)
International export markets
FIGURE 1.3 Regional food price indices, with the base year of 2005-06 set to 100 (source: FEWS
NET food price database).
cowpeas, maize, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, salt, rice, wheat, vegetable oil and other
food stuffs. By broadening the price index beyond the traditional wheat, rice and maize, these
food price indices are significantly more relevant to food security assessment (Brown et al .,
2012). The figure shows a doubling of these food security relevant food prices from the
2005-06 period (where the base value is 100) until the 2010-11 period. East African prices
have increased even more than the other regions due to the severe drought and food security
crisis experienced in 2012.
Rising food prices have a number of implications for food security outcomes. Higher
producer or farm-gate prices might mean that farmers are able to make more money on each
kilogram of grain they sell to the market, increasing their income over the short period.
However, for households that fail to grow enough food for their consumption needs, rising
prices harm their ability to purchase enough food on the market. If the cost of food increases
more rapidly than income or entitlements through government transfers or loans, then many
of the poorest people will be deprived of adequate food and malnutrition rates will increase.
This connection between food security and nutrition outcomes will be explored in
Questions that could be answered with research that integrates climate information into
economic analyses include:
to poor growing conditions over the past two years, and how much was due to inter-
national food price dynamics?
• Can we predict the changes in food prices over the next six months to ensure adequate
humanitarian assistance is provided?
• How vulnerable are food insecure communities to climate variability and its impacts on