Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa

The Food Price Trend Analysis and Policy Options for Enhancing Food Security in Eastern Africa project was launched in February 2012 to monitor food price trends in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

The food crisis which happened in 2007 within the region awakens the need to periodically monitor food price movement across markets within the region to promote trade between surplus and deficit areas.

This is in line within the Common Framework for East African Food Security Strategy which was ratified by the member states. This project therefore intends to provide information to stakeholders in the region about the food market situation in the five participating countries.

Background

The global food price crisis worsened the food security situation for many developing countries especially the net food importers (i.e. food deficient countries). In 2011, high food prices once again threatened to push millions of people into hunger around the world.

The high costs of food imports exacerbated by the surging food prices put enormous strains on most developing countries, and in some instances led to social unrest and political tensions.

The East African region equally felt the adverse effects of soaring food prices, and surprisingly, food prices throughout Eastern Africa continued to rise in 2010 even though global food prices declined in the last quarter of 2008 and the first half of 2009.

In response to the food price crisis, policy makers within the Eastern Africa (EA) region adopted various policy responses to ensure that there is an adequate and affordable food supply for the majority of consumers.

Some countries respond by implementing ad hoc policy actions to address the food price crisis – like export restrictions which are widely viewed as temporarily and generally inefficient in alleviating the food security situation in the East Africa region.

The uncoordinated individual country policy actions prompted the urgent need for an East Africa regional wide effort to respond to food price changes if the region was to rid itself of the impending food security problems associated with soaring food prices.

In February 2012, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), in collaboration with five regional research institutions initiated the joint regional project to examine the food price trends within the EA region and use the information generated as a tool for forecasting and designing effective food policies and strategies for the region.

Partners

The partnering institutions involved are:

  • The Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF)-Tanzania;
  • The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC)-Kenya;
  • National University of Rwanda (NUR);
  • Ethiopia Development Research Institute (EDRI);
  • University of Nairobi, Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS); and
  • The Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC)-Uganda.

Objectives

The objectives of the programme include:

  • To describe the food production, consumption and price trends in the EA region
  • To assess the relationship between domestic and global food prices
  • To analyse the determinants of the food price trends in the region
  • To develop a framework for forecasting future price changes in the Eastern Africa countries
  • To advocate for adoption of appropriate price and food security options
  • To build the capacity of the collaborating partners in price transmission analysis
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