Preventing World Food Crises

Food Security Portal

Recent drastic volatility in food prices has raised serious concerns about food and nutrition security across the world. While a coordinated response is urgently needed at the international and regional levels, the effectiveness of various country-level responses is also critical for responding to the crisis. Coherent action is needed to help vulnerable populations cope with the hikes in their food bills, to assist farmers in developing countries respond to the opportunity posed by rising demand for their products, and to provide information for evidence- based related macro-economic policies. Since the implications of high and volatile food prices are radically different across countries and population groups, the appropriate policy responses, as well as their scale, prioritization, and sequencing, must be developed and adapted to country-specific needs and conditions.

The goal of this project is improved food security for the poor in developing countries during ongoing food crises and increased resilience of developing countries' food systems against future crises. The project focuses on building a global research-based monitoring and capacity-strengthening device for successful identification and implementation of the appropriate policy actions in response to the food crisis. This device takes the form of the Food Security Portal, an open resource for news, data, analysis, and interactive tools related to food security at both global and regional levels.

The Food Security Portal works to support and inform the global food security discussion by making news, data, and price analysis more accessible to a wider range of users. The Portal continues to grow in use amongst researchers, analysts, and policymakers.

The Food Security Portal is a unique tool in that it provides users with a “one-stop” resource for the latest food security information. The site features breaking food security news, regularly updated data from the FAO, WTO, USDA, and other leading resources, and interactive data analysis tools. This information can be used to track and analyze food security and price trends, which can enable policymakers to enact more informed, effective policies. Features of the Portal include:

  •     Global food security hotspot news offers the latest coverage of the food situation in targeted countries, including reports of food-related events, programs, and social reactions.
  •     Current food production, market, and price information found in the Developer Toolkit includes data on consumption, stocks, trade, poverty, undernourishment, and food security measures at the global, regional, and national levels. Information is drawn from authoritative sources like the World Bank, FAO, UNICEF, and IFPRI and can be downloaded, aggregated, and shared.
  •     Food for Thought blog features current food security issues for open discussion and commentary. The blog presents in-depth analysis of the hottest food security issues, featuring videos and publications from leading researchers, and links to the latest data and food security reports released by FAO, USDA, and other trustworthy global sources.
  •     Policy Analysis Tools provide well-defined sets of information and analysis that governments and researchers can employ to manage global food crises and other future challenges in their respective countries. This section includes the most innovative analysis tools, such as the Excessive Food Price Variability Early Warning System, which measures excessive food price variability and is the only mechanism currently available to identify time spans of increased price variability. The Policy Analysis Tools section also includes:
  •     Agricultural Markets Tools which allow users to quickly browse up-to-date data for four major agricultural commodity prices (wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans) and also include data on market structure, international exchange rates, and oil prices as well as related news headlines.
  •     Policy Tools to measure the impact of crises and answer questions like “What is the effect of a price change on different types of households in the medium-term?” and “How is a country affected by changes in the world price of commodities that it exports and imports?”
  •     Capacity-strengthening Tools that provide information related to food security aimed at the public, civil society, and corporate actors.
  •     Country-level food policy information provides data, research and analysis on current and historical food security situations, and policy responses for 21 partner countries. Using an interactive map of the Global Hunger Index, users can receive a complete picture of the current food security situation in the partner countries.

This is a joint project between the Markets, Trade, and Insitutitions Division (MTID) and the Partnership, Impact, and Capacity-strengthening Unit (PIC).