While the impact of rising food prices may be clear, the root causes of such price increases often are not. The role of various short- and long-term factors, such as the growth of commodities futures markets and changing levels of grain stocks, continues to be debated. This new tool by IFPRI, in collaboration with General Architecture for Text Engineering(GATE), examines the extent to which media (specifically global print media outlets) may also impact food prices and price volatility.

The IFPRI Food Security Media Analysis System was developed in collaboration with GATE group from the University of Sheffield to analyze media coverage of food security, food prices, and hunger. This powerful software combination uses sophisticated linguistic and semantic object network-mapping algorithms to analyze the relationships between key terms found in media articles that may influence commodity price volatility. The IFPRI Food Security Media Analysis System provides an intuitive interface designed to help users easily identify co-occurrences of relevant food security-related terms. Each day, the global food- and commodity-related news articles located on the News section of the Food Security Portal are loaded into the Food Security Media Analysis System. GATE then updates the news article database and mines the complete corpus to generate up-to-date media daily analysis of factors that may influence global commodity price volatility and food security.

Here is an example of a media analysis of wheat price movements, generated from articles covering Africa South of the Sahara:

How does the tool work? For example, in the interface below, you can type "maize" in the first search box and "drought" in the second search box. By clicking the "search" button, you will see all related articles mentioning maize and drought.