AMIS > Country work > Stocks

Stocks Measurement

The availability of sound information on national stocks is vital for enhancing market transparency and food security. One of the main drivers of price volatility in international food markets has been the lack of reliable and up-to-date information on food supplies (cereal crops in particular) and hence, on export availabilities and import requirements. In this framework, stocks data are seen as the most problematic.

Besides publicly-owned stocks, for which estimates should be readily available, stock levels can essentially be measured/estimated in two distinct ways: either through surveys or by using stocks as the residual variable in the supply/demand balance. Despite being the most frequently used and economical solution, the latter method (also known as the residual approach) can be problematic, especially if the quality of the other estimates in the balance is low. By contrast, regular and representative stocks surveys are costly, but they can yield higher quality information if well designed and targeted at main stockholders. In this framework, AMIS activities have aimed at:

  • Reviewing and documenting existing stocks surveys, identifying countries with recognized expertise in this field and at different stages of statistical capacity development
  • Proposing definitions and classifications for relevant concepts in stocks measurement
  • Exploring the use of administrative data sources and business surveys for the compilation of stocks information
  • Developing guidelines to be used by countries and international organizations in designing and implementing stocks surveys
  • Reconciling the residual approach with methods allowing the direct measurements of stocks

Related Resources

Jul 2017
Having reliable forecasts of food production remains a major challenge in many countries. This literature review, prepared as part of an AMIS capacity building project financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides an overview of recent practices and advances in the area of crop yield forecasting at farm and parcel level. It complements an earlier study entitled "Crop Yield Forecasting: Methodological and Institutional Aspects", released in February 2016, which covered crop yield forecasting at regional and national levels.

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