FEWS NET has released a food security alert for West Africa to establish a context for regional agricultural production and food security prospects for the 2011/12 consumption year. The report's key messages include:

In the most likely scenario, crop production in the region will be less than last year’s bumper harvest (59 million tons) but near the 2005/06-2009/10 average (~50 million tons).

The impact of the unequal distribution of agricultural production is not yet clear. However, FEWS NET’s analysis suggests that food access will remain near average at the regional level.

FEWS NET has released its Global Price Watch for September 2011, citing continuing high prices in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Africa's newest nation, South Sudan, is also facing increased prices on some staple goods due to conflict and trade restrictions. Global rice prices saw a moderate upswing, due in part to Thailand's new rice price subsidy.

View the full report and the annex

The HarvestChoice AgMarketFinder Tool is a collaborative development innovation from IFPRI, Esri, and SpatialDev.

The International Grains Council has released its grains market report for September 22, 2011. World grain markets saw a retreat in September, a reverse from their strong positions in July and August. As global supply did not change radically, this change in the market is due primarily to financial developments such as the renewal of a strong US dollar.

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India's Department of Food and Public Distribution has released a draft of the National Food Security Bill on its website and is encouraging the public to comment and make suggestions by the end of September.

A Commentary by Maximo Torero

Thailand’s rice exporters are warning that the country’s 2012 rice exports could drop by as much as 30-40 percent as the result of a proposed government policy that would guarantee fixed prices for both plain white rice and jasmine rice. The Pheu Thai Party, which was elected into power in July, has promised farmers fixed prices of 15,000 baht ($US 500) per ton for plain white rice and 20,000 baht (US$ 667) per ton for jasmine rice.

GIEWS has released its Global Food Price Monitor for September 2011, citing continued record high prices in East Africa.

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According to FEWS NET, the prevalence of malnutrition and the rate of crude mortality have surpassed famine thresholds in the Bay Region of southern Somalia. A combination of poor crop production and deteriorating purchasing power has pushed poor households in this region into massive food deficits. Due to this rapidly deteriorating situation, the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and FEWS NET have now classified this region as IPC Phase 5 Famine.

FEWS NET has released its Global Price Watch for August, citing slightly declining prices in some regions of East Africa and continued high staple food prices in Central America.

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Download the August Annex.

In June, the US Senate voted in favor of a deal to end a 45-cent-per-gallon subsidy for the ethanol industry, as well as a 54-cent-per-gallon ethanol tariff. Originally decried by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as a move that would cost American jobs, lead to less choice for consumers, and further dependence on foreign oil sources, the proposal is seen as progress by those who fear that using crops for fuel can destabilize the food and feed markets and lead to higher food prices.