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Brown, ME; Tondel, F; Essam, T; Thorne, JA; Mann, BF; Leonard, K; Stabler, B; Eilerts, G (2012). Country and regional staple food price indices for improved identification of food insecurity. GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE-HUMAN AND POLICY DIMENSIONS, 22(3), 784-794.

Large price increases over a short time period can be indicative of a deteriorating food security situation. Food price indices developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization are often used to monitor food price trends at a global level, but largely reflect supply and demand conditions in export markets. However, reporting by the United States Agency for International Development's Famine Early Warning Systems Network indicates that staple cereal prices in many markets of the developing world, especially in regions that are food insecure areas, are isolated from international export market price trends. Here we present country and regional staple food price indices compiled for improved food security monitoring and assessment, and specifically for monitoring conditions of food access across diverse food insecure regions. We examine the market integration of regional and country level staple food price indices for 35 countries in West, East and Southern Africa and in Central Asia and Central America. We found that cereal price indices constructed using local market prices of within a food insecure region showed significant differences from the international cereals price, and had a variable price dispersion across markets within each marketshed. This work supports the need for improved decision-making about targeted aid and humanitarian relief, by providing earlier warning of food security crises. Published by Elsevier Ltd.



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