Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    FAO Data Lab

    Methodology for the news digest

    News digest

    The Data Lab’s News Digest is the repository of all the products developed by the team with regard to the Covid-19 Platform. It is a collection of the most relevant news and tweets related to the food value chain disruptions initially caused by the coronavirus pandemic, collected by the media coverage and tweets search engines and freely available on the website to all users. Very often, the News Digest makes use of the data on food prices and enriches it by highlighting the contexts and causes of such fluctuations.

    The News Digests are posted daily on the website and organized into four sections, each one containing up to three snippets. The first section gathers news related to food value chain disruptions initially prompted by the coronavirus pandemic during the early phases of the worldwide health crisis, and to the containment measures that were imposed by governments to contain its spread. The disruptions take different forms and often concern different stages of the food value chain, from production to processing, packaging, distribution, and so on.

    The second section contains daily updates on the most substantial food price variations caused by the abovementioned disruptions, and on import/export pattern changes. The third section highlights the measures taken by governments and international organizations to counteract the impacts of the food value chain disruptions on food and livelihood security, living conditions and jobs, especially with regard to the agricultural sectors of developing countries (governmental policy or financial support, for example). Finally, the fourth section offers an overview of different price variations, value chain disruptions or mitigation measures that apply to different countries belonging to the same region of the world, and underlines the differing approaches and consequences according to each context.

    The News Digests are developed in such a way that they create a single narrative, characterised by recurrent patterns and by frequent follow-ups on the issues caused by the disruptions. Therefore, they grant the users the possibility to witness the evolution of the challenges posed by trade restrictions, price fluctuations, agricultural production slowdowns, and to track the progress of the initiatives and measures taken by governments and international institutions to tackle such issues.