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Topic: Food Prices

What's the impact of food price volatility on labour supply and economic growth?

by Mr. Julian Hochscherf

Dear members of the forum,

I am doing a PhD on the insurability of weather-induced food price shocks in Sub-Saharan Africa using index-based microinsurances. I am keen to discover consequences resulting from food price volatility for the effective labour supply. In addition, I would like to analyze whether this labor supply decision can be an explanation for low economic growth in countries showing relatively higher food price volatility.

The first step of the project will be to find empirical evidence that there is indeed a reaction concerning effective labor supply in the face of volatile food prices. A second step would be to discover price patterns between adverse weather events and food prices and to determine the effects for insurance indexes. As I stand at the beginning of that project, I would be glad to receive many propositions, feedbacks of and contacts to more experienced practitioners or researchers etc.

Julian Hochscherf

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Food and nutrition in numbers 2014

Overcoming malnutrition in all of its forms – caloric undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity – requires a combination of interventions in different areas that guarantee the availability of and access to healthy diets. Among the key areas, interventions are required in food systems, public health systems and the provision of safe water and sanitation. This pocketbook not only focuses on indicators of food security and nutritional outcomes but also on the determinants that contribute to healthy lives. The pocketbook is structured in two sections: Thematic spreads related to food security and nutrition, including detailed food consumption data collected from national household budget surveys; Comprehensive country and regional profiles with indicators categorized by anthropometry, nutritional deficiencies, supplementation, dietary energy supplies, preceded by their "setting". The setting provides demographic indicators as well as health status indicators based on mortality patterns and the provision of safe water and sanitation. Anthropometry indicators provide information not only on the prevalence of acute and chronic forms of under-nutrition but also on the prevalence of obesity. Their co-existence is often referred to as the double burden of malnutrition. Nutritional deficiency indicators reveal food security issues at the national level based on the adequacy of energy supplies; they also reveal the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, often referred to as “hidden hunger”. Combined with anthropometric measurements, they allow for the identification of the triple burden of malnutrition (under-nutrition, obesity and hidden hunger). Regarding hidden hunger, indicators concerning iodine and vitamin A have been selected. Dietary indicators are based on national food supplies and inform on the overall quality of diets. Focus is also on the importance of diets during the first 1 000 days of an infant’s life, with indicators selected on the quality of breastfeeding, dietary diversity and meal frequency.

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Review of Global Food Price Databases

As part of a three-phase project, the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) sponsored a comparative study of the globally managed cross-country price and market information systems to assess complementarities and overlaps.

This report contains a review of these databases in terms of data collection, quality control mechanisms, management, use, analysis methods and tools. It includes recommendations to improve the integration and harmonization of the FAO, WFP and FEWS NET databases, in order to improve efficiency and enhance inter-operability.

A second phase is underway to begin implementing these recommendations, identify gaps in existing guidance, and review how market price data are collected and used in selected countries.

The ultimate objective of the project is to facilitate national capacity development on FSN information systems based on expressed demands.

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Trade Liberalization and Food Security: For a New Green Revolution in Africa

The purpose of this study is to provide a framework in order to analyze the relation between trade liberalization and food security in Africa. From the 80s, the Bretton Woods institutions consider trade liberalization as a solution to achieve food security in Africa. In this study, the analysis of food security indicators is based on: availability, accessibility and stability / volatility. The situation is that several years after the application of this trade policy, the goal is still not achieved. Thus, reforming agricultural policies in Africa, a fair multilateral trade, the necessary facilities for the African countries to access international markets, and maintaining complementarity between Multilateralism and Regionalism are necessary conditions to promote food security in Africa.