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

 

Project Team

Project Supervisor
Sarah N. Ssewanyana (PhD), Executive Director

Project Manager
Swaibu Mbowa (PhD), Research Fellow

Project Team Members
Ibrahim Kasirye (PhD), Senior Research Fellow
Joseph Mawejje, Research Analyst

Project Communications Officer
Elizabeth Birabwa Aliro, Programmes Manager


 

Project Activities

Since the start of the project in February 2012 to date, EPRC has conducted:

  • Data collection and cleaning of key food prices in Uganda dating back from Jan 2002-June 2013. The data is posted on the East African Regional Food Price Data Portal at www.eafpd.org
  • Held a National Inception workshop on 7th November 2012 to inform Ugandan policy makers and other stakeholders about the food prices trends project initiative and enlighten them about the emerging food price situation in the region and its likely impact on food security in the East African Region.

 

Research outputs

Understanding the Recent Food Price Trends in Uganda

Fact Sheet No. 4: The global food price crisis has worsened the food security situation for many developing countries especially those that are net food importers. High food prices are once again threatening to push millions of people into hunger around the world. 

The brief illustrates that increasing food prices in Uganda have had major effects of eroding people?s purchasing power especially among the low income groups. This has had significant implications for food security as people, especially the net buyers, afford less food.

The Ugandan case on internal imbalances in food distribution presupposes that barriers to free movement of food commodities such as import restrictions, trade bans and poor intra-regional infrastructure could hinder the flow of food commodities between surplus and deficit countries within the East African region. 

The Eastern Africa Food Prices Data Portal
The Portal is a web based information system for food and input prices of selected ASARECA member countries - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. It provides information on food production, trends in food and input prices and is developing a framework for forecasting future price changes in these countries.

It can be accessed at: http://www.eafpdp.org/ - See more at: http://www.asareca.org/content/online-tools

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