The importance of monitoring Africa’s food prices

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This is according to Rafik Mahjoubi, an analyst at the African Development Bank who said that the creation of an African Food Price Index was of utmost importance after the continent suffered from a food and economic crisis in 2008-09.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the numbers of people who are hungry are calculated on the basis of national total food availability, expressed per capita and distributed statistically in relation to income.

Worldwide, there was an estimated 850 million people who were hungry before the food crisis of 2008-09, and over 900 million in 2010, of which 239 million lived in sub-Saharan Africa. 

(READ MORE: Is complete hunger eradication possible by 2015?)

“Africa’s population cannot compete with industries in the world in terms of percentage of power. Globally we are producing enough food to feed the world but the problem in Africa is not of availability of food, but of access,” added Mahjoubi.

He explained that monitoring food prices is therefore essential to prevent catastrophic outcomes.

“We created this index to warn us early enough to intervene and prevent African people from dying of hunger.”

Currently, the African Food Price Index covers 44 African countries, including an urban and rural market in each. The index closely monitors weekly food prices to ensure early detection of volatility.

(READ MORE: African leaders set to end hunger by 2025 )

Countries that are considered the most expensive in terms of food pricing include Nigeria, Zambia and South Africa.