Monitoring food market developments in the Asia-Pacific region
Tracking developments in food markets improves market transparency and helps to identify emerging issues that might be relevant to policy makers. The 2007/08 food price crisis raised concerns of the necessity to closely monitor domestic and international food prices. In the current context of interconnected and volatile markets, the collection and dissemination of timely information are key in providing early warning of potential problems or shocks that may require policy responses.
In fact, the monitoring of food prices and policies at national, regional and global level has become a central focus of several international organizations and initiatives including FAO, WFP, IFPRI, WB and the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS). Furthermore, governments have been increasingly demanding support to strengthen their capacity to monitor and analyse food market developments at the national level.
The monthly Asia-Pacific Food Price and Policy Monitor of the FAO Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific, provides governments and international organizations with up-to-date information on national and regional food price and policy developments.
The May issue highlights that the region’s food price inflation continued to ease through April, though at a slower pace than in March. Rice prices remained stable in April, except in Pakistan and Sri Lanka where lower production pushed prices up. In view of this, Sri Lanka has removed all rice import duties to ensure supplies in the domestic market and curb these price rises. Conversely, Cambodia, an emerging rice exporting country, eliminated export fees in an attempt to boost its competitiveness in the international markets. Countries in the region are preparing for the potential impacts of El Niño, resulting in abnormal and extreme weather patterns such as droughts and floods. Among these countries, Indonesia has set to increase its rice strategic stockpiles while the Philippines are implementing a plan of action to improve small-scale irrigation systems.
Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis (FAPDA) contributes to the Asia-Pacific Food Price and Policy Monitor by collecting the most recent national policies with potential impact on prices of basic food commodities. This and additional policy information on the region is likewise available through the FAPDA web-based Tool.