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The database employed in this study was compiled by consultants in the countries involved, working in coordination with FAO Representatives. At present the database includes data for major food staples in 16 countries. In more than one country, however, data for cash crops and agricultural exportables which are important in the local context are not considered. For some countries data is very scarce: e.g. for Ethiopia and Argentina, for which only few annual data points are available. Monthly prices series are also available for seven countries (Costa Rica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Senegal, Thailand, and Turkey), with a variable number of observations, ranging in most cases from 100 up to more than 300.

All prices have been reported in US dollars. Annual data for five countries (Brazil, Costa Rica, India and Indonesia) and monthly data for all countries were converted from local currencies to US dollars using the current average period exchange rates reported by the IMF (2003) International Financial Statistics database. Annual data were supplied in US dollars by the local consultants for the remaining ten countries (Chile, Egypt, Ghana, Mexico, Pakistan, Senegal, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, and Uruguay). For few countries data are available at all the three stages of the food chain (producer, wholesale, retail).[2]

For the analysis presented in this paper it was necessary to select: (i) annual price series including at least 30 observations; this excluded the annual prices reported for Ethiopia, and all data for Argentina; (ii) monthly price series showing an acceptable degree of continuity. Most price series in fact showed considerable gaps. Missing observations were replaced through interpolation, and the consistency of the new data points was checked on the basis of the parameter of the underlying AR (1) model.[3]

The very nature of the “prices” included in the database is variable. Firstly, included border “prices” from FAOSTAT are indeed import unit values. Secondly, “wholesale”, “retail” and “producer” prices may inevitably refer to a different price in each market, depending on their specific characteristics. The local consultants have chosen those reported as being representative prices at the three levels. Their level of accuracy, therefore, depends on the variability of market features, and on the size of the countries. The same inevitably applies also to product definitions.[4]

[2] Particularly
  • producer prices are available on a relatively regular basis for seven countries (Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Uganda, and Uruguay); few producer prices are available for 6 other countries (Chile, Costa Rica, India, Pakistan, Senegal and Thailand; these are mainly cereal prices); no producer prices are available for Ghana;
  • wholesale prices are available on a (relatively) regular basis for nine countries (Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey and Uganda); no wholesale data are available for the other five (Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Senegal and Uruguay);
  • retail prices are available on a (relatively) regular basis for five countries (Egypt, Ghana, Pakistan, Turkey and Uganda); few retail data are available for five others (Chile, India, Thailand, Senegal and Uruguay); and no retail data are available for the remaining four (Brazil, Cost Rica, Indonesia and Mexico).

[3] In practice, data were first replaced through interpolation, and then replaced with the fitted data of the underlying AR(1) model until the parameters of the model stabilized.
[4] Particularly, for Costa Rica, data come from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC);

  • for Egypt, price sources are i) the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, Consumer & Wholesale Price Bulletin; ii) Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation, Agricultural Statistic Bulletin; iii) Ministry of Supply;
  • for Indonesia, producer, wholesale and retail prices results from a set of prices collected in different provinces and cities and published respectively in the Statistik Harga Produsen Sektor Pertanian di Indonesia, Statistik Harga Perdagangan Besar Beberapa Propinsi di Indonesia and in the Harga Konsumen Beberapa Barang dan Jasa di Indonesia, of the Central Bureau of Statistics;
  • for Thailand, data was collected from: the Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics, the Statistical Yearbook of Thailand, the Trade and Economic Indices Bureau, the Department of Internal Trade, the Economic and Financial Statistics, and the Office of Agricultural Economics, and the Quarterly Bulletin, the Monthly Bulletins and the reports of the Departments of Business Economics and of Internal Trade;
  • for India, the reported “prices” are averages of the prices in two or three main markets;
  • for Uganda data was collected through a set of institutions including: The Agricultural Secretariat (AGSEC), the Market News Services (MNS), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Uganda Oils Producers and Processors Association (UOSPPA), the Investment in Developing Export Agriculture (IDEA) Project, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), the Bank of Uganda (BOU), the Dairy Corporation (DC), the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), and the Uganda Ginners and Cotton Exporters Association (UGCEA).

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