Over the past four months, weather patterns and conflict have played a key role in the food security situation in several regions, according to the latest issue of the WFP's Global Food Security Update. While good rains in the Sahel have led to a predicted short-term improvement in the region's food security, drought and flooding in several other areas of the world have produced shocks that are likely to drive more people into hunger.

When it comes to improving global food security and ending hunger, increasing access to reliable, up-to-date information and research is an important first step. National and international policymakers rely on credible data, statistics, and analysis to enact appropriate policies and respond to local, regional, and global food crises. In many developing countries, however, such information is often difficult to access; even when data is available, it may not be communicated to policymakers in an accessible, easy-to-understand way.

The latest USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report was released today. This month's report cites lower world supplies for wheat and maize; global rice supplies, on the other hand, are up to a record 465.1 million tons.

The GIEWS Global Food Price Monitor, released today, has seen a slight decline in international maize prices from their near-record highs in August. However, the report also cites increasing global rice export prices, as well as strengthening wheat export prices. Domestic wheat prices in several regions (Asia, CIS, and South America) also rose in September, reflecting higher prices in international and regional export markets.

The Agricultural Marketing Information System (AMIS) has released the second edition of its Market Monitor. The publication provides the latest news related to AMIS, as well as in-depth data regarding trends in the world food market, supply-demand balances, and price indices.

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.

The USDA today released its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Report. The report continues to see reduced global production estimates for wheat, maize, and soybean. Global rice production, on the other hand, is expected to reach a near-record 464.2 million tons. The changes seen in this month's report are relatively small and were anticipated based on recent price trends.

FAO has released its Food Price Index for August, citing stabilizing world food prices. The Food Price Index has remained steady since July at 213 points. The report points out that while this level is high, it is still 25 points below the peak seen in February 2011.

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