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A quality approach to real-time smartphone and citizen-driven food market price data

Gloria Solano Hermosilla, Julius Adewopo, Helen Peter, Jesus Barreiro Hurle (), Giuseppe Arbia (), Vincenzo Nardelli, Celso Gorrin Gonzalez (), Fabio Micale () and Tomaso Ceccarelli
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Jesus Barreiro Hurle: European Commission - JRC,
Celso Gorrin Gonzalez: European Commission - JRC,

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Jesús Barreiro-Hurlé

No JRC119273, JRC Research Reports from Joint Research Centre (Seville site)

Abstract: Timely and reliable monitoring of commodity food prices is an essential requirement for the assessment of market and food security risks and the establishment of early warning systems, especially in developing economies. However, data from regional or national systems for tracking changes of food prices in sub-Saharan Africa lacks the temporal or spatial richness and is often insufficient to inform targeted interventions. In addition to limited opportunity for [near-]real-time assessment of food prices, various stages in the commodity supply chain are mostly unrepresented, thereby limiting insights on stage-related price evolution. Yet, governments and market stakeholders rely on commodity price data to make decisions on appropriate interventions or commodity-focused investments. Recent rapid technological development indicates that digital devices and connectivity services are becoming affordable for many, including in remote areas of developing economies. This offers a great opportunity both for the harvesting of price data (via new data collection methodologies, such as crowdsourcing/crowdsensing — i.e. citizen-generated data — using mobile apps/devices), and for disseminating it (via web dashboards or other means) to provide real-time data that can support decisions at various levels and related policy-making processes. However, market information that aims at improving the functioning of markets and supply chains requires a continuous data flow as well as quality, accessibility and trust. More data does not necessarily translate into better information. Citizen-based data-generation systems are often confronted by challenges related to data quality and citizen participation, which may be further complicated by the volume of data generated compared to traditional approaches. Following the food price hikes during the first noughties of the 21st century, the European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) started collaborating with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on innovative methodologies for real-time food price data collection and analysis in developing countries. The work carried out so far includes a pilot initiative to crowdsource data from selected markets across several African countries, two workshops (with relevant stakeholders and experts), and the development of a spatial statistical quality methodology to facilitate the best possible exploitation of geo-located data. Based on the latter, the JRC designed the Food Price Crowdsourcing Africa (FPCA) project and implemented it within two states in Northern Nigeria. The FPCA is a credible methodology, based on the voluntary provision of data by a crowd (people living in urban, suburban, and rural areas) using a mobile app, leveraging monetary and non-monetary incentives to enhance contribution, which makes it possible to collect, analyse and validate, and disseminate staple food price data in real time across market segments.

Keywords: Food prices; market information; crowdsourcing; mobile app; digital platform; behavioural tools; citizens science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-isf and nep-pay
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Handle: RePEc:ipt:iptwpa:jrc119273