Rice are displayed on sale at a vegetable stall at the Esquilino market in Rome.  ©FAO/Marco Salustro

Agricultural commodity prices are an indicator of changes in supply and demand, and as such, can detect abnormal conditions that need to be brought to attention. Price monitoring supports well-functioning international and national markets through the provision of timely and transparent market information, and constitutes a basis for evidence-based decision making and food security strategies. Past price volatility events have put in evidence the value of timely market information and analysis in order to mitigate the negative effects on low-income groups of population whose expenditure on food represents a large proportion of their total expenses. FAO plays a key role in monitoring, analysing and disseminating food price data along the food supply chain, from producer to consumer through both domestic as well as international markets.

FAO price data and analysis

FAO provides information on prices through two main domains: the International price domain, which includes international prices and the FAO Food Price Index, and the domestic price domain, including agricultural producer prices, wholesale and retail prices, consumer and food price indices.

International Price Domain

International prices include export and import prices. Export prices are determined in export markets for products intended for delivery outside the boundary of the country. Export markets are also described as terminal wholesale markets, where the valuation of the product is made as free-on-rail, or free-alongside-ship or free-on-board (denoted by f.o.b. prices). Import prices are prices of goods purchased in the country but produced out of its boundaries.

 International Prices 

The FAO Food Price Index (FPI) is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities. The Index consists of the average of five commodity group price indices weighted with the average export shares of each of the groups (for 2002-04). It is composed of 55 commodity quotations and updated monthly.

 Food Price Index

Domestic Price Domain

Agricultural Producer Prices (APP) are prices received by farmers for their produce at the farm gate; i.e. at the point where the commodity leaves the farm. APP do not cover the costs after the farm gate; e.g. transportation cost from the farm gate to the nearest market or first point of sale, warehousing costs, processing costs and market charges (if any) for selling the produce. FAOSTAT gives free access to food and agriculture data for over 245 countries and territories and covers all FAO regional groupings from 1961 to the most recent year available. Annual APP data are provided from 1991 to the previous year for over 160 countries and about 200 commodities, and monthly APP data are provided from January 2010 to December of the previous year for over 60 countries and about 200 commodities. APP are used, along with production data, to estimate value of production for a country, by commodity and in total, as well as Producer Price Indexes, which measure price inflation. APP also enable analysts to analyse price transmission and volatility.

 Producer Prices – Annual

 Producer Prices – Monthly

 Producer Price Indices – Annual

 Producer Price Indices – Archive

Wholesale prices of an agricultural product are the prices at which wholesalers sell products in bulk quantities to retailers, manufacturers and industrial users. These prices include transportation charges after leaving the farm gate, incidental expenses and the wholesaler’s margin of profit.

 Wholesale Prices

Retail prices of an agricultural product are the prices at which the products are sold to the end consumer for consumption, and include expenses the retailer incurs, plus a margin of profit.

 Retail Prices

The FAO CPI dataset for all items(or general CPI) and the Food CPI (base=2010) consists of a complete and consistent set of time series from January 2000 onwards, as well as regional, global food CPIs compiled by FAO using population weights to aggregate across countries. These indices measure the price change between the current and reference periods of the average basket of goods and services purchased by households. The general CPI is typically used to measure and monitor inflation, set monetary policy targets, index social benefits such as pensions and unemployment benefits, and to escalate thresholds and credits in the income tax systems and wages in public and private wage contracts.


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