In response to the market disruption and food price increases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA Harvest partners at the International Food Policy Research Institute Food Security Portal (IFPRI FSP) have recently released the COVID-19 Price Monitor. This online dashboard can be used to track food market conditions and flag food price changes. The tool provides easily navigable and up-to-date information on crop price variability, which can be an early indicator of stress in food markets and potential supply abnormalities. The COVID-19 Price Monitor currently tracks the daily price of maize, wheat, rice, green peas, millet, and other staple and non-staple agricultural commodities for major markets in India, Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi, with more countries to be added as additional data becomes available.
Researchers at IFPRI FSP are no strangers to the threats that disease, conflict, and economic volatility pose to food security, especially for poor communities that are already at a heightened risk of going hungry. The portion of the global population who must spend a majority of their income on food for survival are particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of food price spikes. The cost of food has a substantial influence on the livelihoods and nutrition choices of millions of people around the world, from farmers to food processors to consumers, and when markets are exceptionally sensitive, prices can experience shocks that cause wide-reaching negative effects. Monitoring market reactions closely, especially during times of economic duress, is vital for providing early warning to both consumers and policy-makers so that they have an opportunity to implement procedures and policies to prevent food insecurity in their communities.
Explore the COVID-19 Food Price Monitor dashboard to learn more about the current state of food markets throughout South Asia and South Africa.