Food Price Monitoring and Analysis System

This work was part of the Project "Humanitarian response to the needs of the most vulnerable communities affected by the prolonged food crisis and recurrent droughts in the Central American Dry Corridor", commissioned by Acción Contra El Hambre and implemented by Acción Contra El Hambre, OXFAM, Trocaire, WeWorld GVC, Médecins du Monde and Cooperazione Internazionale and the overall objective is to contribute to saving lives, alleviating suffering and reducing the social and economic impact caused by the protracted food and nutrition crisis of extremely vulnerable rural households in the Central American Dry Corridor, specifically in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

Food Price feedsheet on the PREDISAN platform

To do so a fortnightly price monitoring system for basic foodstuffs was established (white maize, yellow maize, beans, rice, pound of chicken, dozen eggs) in CA4 to make recommendations on how the ECHO SAN CA4 project might need to adapt to changing market conditions and anticipate possible impacts on the food security of vulnerable populations. This is one of the most relevant tasks due to the impact that the increase in the price of basic foodstuffs has on household budgets, so we developed an algorithm that extracts information from two sources that were considered a priority: the Honduran Agricultural Products Market Information System (SIMPAH) and the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) global database of food prices.

Food Price feedsheet on the PREDISAN platform

The process of obtaining and representing data on food prices in Central America based on a methodology developed by GIS4tech start generating the basis for a periodic analysis that allows a comparison with average prices according to available historical series, taking into account seasonal oscillations that can be considered normal. The graphs obtained from these analyses help to establish price anomalies they are either cyclical in nature or limited to a specific country or market.

Nicaragua food price chart from the HDX source (USD) on the PREDISAN platform.

The methodology consists of carrying out the download weekly food price reports in PDF format. Then, price extraction is performed using techniques scrappingThe aim is to extract the prices for each item and organise them in tables for later backup in relational databases.

Food price grid in Guatemala from the HDX source (USD) on the PREDISAN platform.

The data that has been extracted from the techniques of scrappingThe data, combined with text mining, are stored in a relational database. At present, no other updated food price database exists for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This makes the platform a useful resource for decision-making in food and nutrition security.

This project is now included in the platform PREDISAN.

El Salvador food price chart from the HDX source (USD) on the PREDISAN platform.

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