Food prices have drastically risen since February
The Alliance for Commodity Trade for Eastern and Southern Africa – ACTESA has called for improvement of long-range weather and price forecasting and monitoring in eastern and southern Africa in order to deal with the challenge of food security in the region.
Through the African Agricultural Markets Programme (AAMP) a programme implemented under ACTESA notes that agricultural production being a seasonal activity, food price swings cannot be eliminated but, the severity of the price swings can be moderated if markets can be used better.
“Blocking markets only worsens food price volatility,” said the statement posted on the ACTESA website.
Among a raft of key recommendations in the face of food security challenges that are gripping the continent, ACTESA which is based at the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa – Comesa practical steps are needed to reduce the amplitude of price swings.
Actesa said public access to information on quantity of food stocks and prices in selected markets in each month in eastern and southern Africa is crucial in order to make decisions.
“Improvement in the understanding of the relationship between international prices and local prices on one hand and prices in surplus and deficit areas of domestic markets on the other hand is important,” says the statement.
The organization is urging governments in the sub-region to also make timely pre-positioning of small strategic reserves in drought-prone, pastoral and infrastructure poor areas for emergency purposes.
They are equally calling for the accelerate implementation of a regional trade agreement to free movement of food across borders at all times.
“Implement social safety nets for pregnant and lactating women and children under five in poor urban, rural marginal and pastoral areas,” says the statement.
And the Food and Agriculture Organization -FAO released its latest Food Price Watch this week, stating that global food prices continued to rise in February for the eighth consecutive month. This is even as policymakers are struggling to deal with the implications of rising prices, access to reliable price information is critical.