Markets and Trade

About us

The Markets and Trade Division (EST) reviews agricultural trade global issues, provides analytical and policy relevant information, maintains a comprehensive market intelligence service of the main agricultural commodities, houses the Committee Secretariats on Commodity Problems (CCP), subsidiary Intergovernmental Commodity Groups (IGGs) and the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), and services arrangements for food shortfalls’ early warnings.

Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP)

The Division serves as the Secretariat to the CCP and subsidiary Intergovernmental Commodity Groups (IGGs), which report to the CCP. The CCP (as a FAO Council standing committee) reviews global issues affecting production, trade, distribution and agricultural product consumption and prepares a factual and interpretive survey of the world commodity economy.  It identifies specific commodity problems and proposes international mitigation action.

Global food and agriculture situation and medium term outlook

The Division closely monitors world markets and outlooks for main agricultural commodities, including basic foodstuffs, tropical products and raw materials. Regular scheduled publications include: the monthly FAO Food Price Index, the Global Food Price Monitor, the bi-annual Food Outlook, the quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation reports, and the annual OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. This latter, a joint econometric modelling exercise run by both organisations, forms the basis for medium-term global agriculture projections.

Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS)

The Division is responsible for the operation of GIEWS. Established after the early 1970s world food crisis, GIEWS continuously monitors the world supply and demand basic foods outlook, and is the leading source of information on world food production and food security through its publication: Crop Prospects and Food Situation, Special Reports on Crop and Food Security Assessment Missions, and continually updated Country Briefs. After the 2007-08 food price crisis, GIEWS established an online Food Price Data and Analysis Tool covering domestic staple foods prices in more than 80 countries, and international cereal export prices. GIEWS provides comprehensive market intelligence on agricultural commodities, and supports national/regional level initiatives to enhance early warning systems.

Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS)

The G20 Agriculture Ministers launched AMIS in 2011 after recognising the importance of timely, accurate and transparent information in addressing food price volatility. It is managed by a joint Secretariat of ten international organizations (FAO, GEOGLAM, IFPRI, IFAD, IGC, OECD, UNCTAD, the World Bank Group, WFP and WTO). The Secretariat, hosted by FAO, develops methods and indicators to reflect food market developments, and shares information on current and future food market situations and food policies.

Trade agreements and trade policy

FAO's work on agricultural trade policy and related capacity-development activities evolved in collaboration with bilateral partners and other international organizations and followed demands for assistance. The range of the Organization’s trade-related policy work divides into normative, (i.e. analytical policy work at the FAO Headquarters), and operational, (i.e. trade-related capacity-building activities at regional, sub-regional and country level). These complementary activities establish links and feedback mechanisms between the work at Headquarters and practitioners’ needs, including those of the Geneva country missions engaged in agriculture negotiations at the WTO.

Public Private Partnerships

The Division has engaged in private sector partnerships to foster trade in sustainable agricultural products. It supports public-private alliances that aim to make production and trade more sustainable in sectors such as bananas and tropical fruits. For example, the Division facilitates the World Banana Forum, a key stakeholder public-private partnership seeking to enhance the sustainability of production and trade. It provides technical and logistical support to the Forum’s Steering Committee and specialized working groups. These groups produce recommendations and best practices for the industry in the areas of sustainable production methods, value distribution along the marketing chain and workplace conditions. 

Investments in agriculture

The Division provides developing and developed countries with objective information on trends and impacts of foreign direct investment (FDI) in agriculture. It promotes the principles of responsible agricultural investment, in particular through building international consensus.