FAO released the latest Food Price Index today. The report cites slightly higher food prices in September, averaging 216 points. The increase was based mostly on the meat and dairy sectors, with smaller increases in grains. The Index is currently 22 points below its peak of 238 points in February 2011, and nine points below its level of 225 points in September 2011.
The latest FEWS NET Monthly Price Watch was released on Friday. The report states that international grain prices stabilized at higher levels in August and began to decline in September as more information about the extent of U.S. crop damage due the drought became available.
USDA has released its latest quarterly grain stocks update and is seeing important reductions in grain stock-to-use ratios. These reductions are expected to continue impacting prices and trade; however, as they were anticipated by most major traders, they should not increase price volatility in the coming weeks.
FEWS NET has released the latest update to its West Africa Food Security Outlook. The report sees good crop production in the region, with initial evaluations citing cereal production between 5 and 17 percent higher than 2011. The report cautions, however, that due to continuing high prices and past stock depletion, food insecurity in some parts of the region could remain at Phase 2 (Stressed) levels through October.
The September issue of the FAO Monthly News Report was released today. The report covers ongoing global and regional trends in grain prices and policies. This month's report includes articles on the US Farm Bill, EU biofuels policies, and the drop in US corn and soybean surpluses.
AGRODEP (African Growth and Development Policy Modeling Consortium) has now launched its fourth round of membership extension. Qualified economists from Africa are eligible; membership provides free access to cutting-edge economic research tools, resources, and training that may otherwise be unavailable to researchers in the region.
A new joint program led by UN Women, FAO, IFAD, and WFP aims to empower rural women to work for food security, economic development, and social progress. "Accelerating Progress Toward the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women" is a five-year initiative that will be implemented beginning in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger, and Rwanda.
While progress has stalled in the House of Representatives in recent weeks, the pending new five-year US Farm Bill will have important implications for agriculture.
According to a new report released by FEWS, crisis-level food insecurity across West Africa has improved or stabilized in the past month, particularly from Mauritania to Chad and the eastern Sahel. Despite the improvement in food security, however, food aid will still be needed in the region through the fall to compensate for high prices and low household food stocks.