Changes in staple food prices in selected countries: Issue No. 4, Jul 2009

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 27 Jul 2009 View Original
This bulletin provides information on price changes of the most commonly consumed staples and potential impacts on the cost of a food basket. Staples contribute 40 - 80% of energy intake for most vulnerable population groups in developing countries. A small increase in staple prices has a high impact on their overall food consumption, especially when the food basket is composed of very few staples.

The bulletin covers 56 countries over the period from March to June 2009 .

Highlights:

- Overall: Prices of main staple food commodities remained stable in most of the countries over the last three months, compared to the previous quarter, though they are still significantly higher than their long term averages. The cost of the food basket is still higher in 2009 than last year and long term averages (table 3).

- Asia: Rice and wheat prices have either remained stable or declined for all monitored countries during the last quarter, except in Nepal where prices started rising significantly. However, prices remain significantly high in comparison to the long term averages.

- West Africa: Staple food prices remained stable in most of the countries in this region compared to the previous quarter, except for cassava products in Benin and for local rice in Sierra Leone where prices have continued to rise significantly. However, prices continued to be high compared to the same quarter in 2008 and to their long term averages.

- Southern, Eastern and Central Africa: Staple food, prices especially for maize remained stable in most of the countries during the last quarter. In Uganda and Zambia prices are still experiencing significant increases. Prices remain very high compared to their long term averages, especially for countries which have roots, maize and rice as main staple food commodities. In Zimbabwe, for the first time in several years, maize prices have had a downward trend due to the adoption of the USD and reduced socio-political tension.

- Latin America and Caribbean: In Costa Rica and Honduras, prices of maize and rice have either remained stable or declined. However, they are significantly high in comparison to the long term averages.

- Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe: Staple food prices decreased in Palestine whilst they remained somewhat stable in Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. In Iraq, prices have continued to increase sharply.

- Stand-Alone Countries: In Sudan, prices of staple food are stable in comparison with the previous quarter, though high compared to the same quarter in 2008.