Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
After the 2008 global food and fuel price spike, FEWS NET gathered for general distribu-
tion a large set of food price data points in regional markets in food insecure countries that
were updated in near real time every month. This dataset was then presented in a report that
provides information on price movements in major markets for most of the 23 countries
covered by FEWS NET. The report provided the current price in US dollars as well as the
local currency, with a calculation of the percent change from the previous month, from three
months ago and from the same time in the previous year. The bulletin has increased the vis-
ibility of market information in food security analysis, and the dataset forms the basis for
research that seeks to provide real time assessment of the impact of environmental shocks on
market prices. The practice of reporting on food price levels and changes in prices has been
adopted by all international, regional, national and non-governmental food security organiza-
tions, and is used to detect, measure and prioritize the humanitarian response to populations
affected by changing food prices (Eilerts, 2013).
Although the continuously updated food price database available to all on the FAO website
is an important step forward for humanitarian aid organizations, there is a long way to go
before food prices are fully integrated into efforts to monitor weather and international shocks
on food security. FEWS NET and the United Nations World Food Programme monitor the
impact of climate on food production through national production statistics and assessments,
remote sensing assessments of agriculturally relevant rainfall and temperatures, and trade in
agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and fuel for moving goods post-harvest. These informa-
tion streams are currently independent and little effort is made to quantitatively assess the
response of food prices to changes in production. By providing quantitative links and concep-
tual connections, this topic may contribute to improvements in how price information is used
in assessing and responding to crises.
Overview and structure of the topic
This chapter has focused on providing an overview of the issues and concepts that are key to
understanding food security, highlighting the role of local markets and climate variability in
production and income. Satellite data and other sources of environmental information have
the benefit of being spatially explicit, so the impact of bad weather on agricultural production
can be assessed remotely and immediately. The chapter also provides a description of how
models and quantitative analysis of local weather anomalies and market price response to
changes in food supply could be used in food security analysis. Understanding these connec-
tions will help build improved early warning systems, design appropriate responses and build
improved policies to reduce the impact of high and volatile food prices.
Chapter 2 provides an overview of the global food security assessment framework and how
food prices and weather shocks are conceptualized within the system. It also describes famine
early warning systems and their very specific data sources, needs and evidence requirements.
The chapter outlines livelihoods and the impact of weather shocks on income, using an
example of a livelihood analysis from Niger, one of the world's poorest and most food inse-
cure countries. The chapter ends with a description of the data and information needs of
famine early warning systems and how data is used within the system.
Chapter 3 discusses climate variability, including how we determine whether the environ-
ment is changing. It also examines trends in precipitation and temperature, as well as our
ability to identify these trends both in models and in observations. Satellite remote sensing of
Search WWH ::

Custom Search