Economist Food Security Early Warning

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Food and Agriculture Organization




The Markets and Trade Division (EST) monitors and analyses developments and trends in international, regional and national agricultural commodity markets and the factors affecting them, collecting and disseminating up-to-date and comprehensive market and policy information for the major traded commodities and those important to food security. It also undertakes forward-looking outlook studies. The Division analyses issues that affect global food and agricultural markets and trade, including analysis of trade policies and agreements, and provides technical support and capacity development to FAO Members in all these areas. Through its Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS), the Division is responsible for FAO’s early warnings on food shortfalls and food security problems. EST is also responsible for the production of FAO flagship publication The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO) and the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. The Division houses the secretariats of the Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) and its subsidiary Intergovernmental Groups (IGGs), the G20 Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and the World Banana Forum (WBF).

The post is located in the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) in the Markets and Trade Division (EST) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

The Economist (Food Security Early Warning) reports to the Senior Economist and Team Leader of the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS).

Under the overall guidance of the Senior Economist and Team Leader of the GIEWS, the Economist (Food Security Early Warning) will monitor and prepare analytical appraisals of the current and prospective food supply and demand situation in assigned countries, including conducting field missions. The Economist will work on improving the collection and regular flow of basic data and information at country level on crop production and food security and liaise with relevant national and international institutions and stakeholders dealing with food security information.

Research and analysis of information, data and statistics, and the maintenance and updating of related tools, methodologies, and/or databases to support the delivery of programme products, projects, publications, and services.

Key Functions:

  • Researches and analyses (agricultural, economic, trade, market, social, environmental, nutrition/food composition and/or gender related) data, statistics and information to provide technical, statistical and/or policy related information and analysis to support the delivery of economic and social development programmes work, products, projects, publications and services.
  • Produces a variety of technical reports and input for technical documents, divisional publications and/or web pages.
  • Provides technical, statistical and/or analytical services on various studies, projects and/or assessments and provides technical backstopping to field projects.
  • Participates in the development of improved/updated technical, statistical and/or analytical tools, methodologies, systems, databases and/or key social/ economic/ environmental/ nutritional and/or early warning indicators, etc.
  • Participates in multi-disciplinary teams, collaborates with other Divisions/Offices/Centres on work groups and committees and promotes best practices.
  • Collaborates in capacity development activities involving the planning and organizing of training workshops, seminars, and major meetings and the preparation of related information, materials, on-line tools and information kits.
  • Promotes knowledge sharing and best practices at international meetings and conferences and influences partners in stakeholder consultations.
  • Participates in resource mobilization activities.

Specific Functions:

  • Analyses the food supply/demand situation in the countries of assignment, collects data and information on crop prospects, food production and consumption, trade, stocks, prices and policies and monitors developments.
  • Maintains the Cereal Country Balance Sheets (CCBS) for the assigned countries and regularly updates and reports on food security indicators.
  • Regularly updates the GIEWS Country Briefs for the assigned countries.
  • Contributes to GIEWS main periodical publications (Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, the Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) monthly bulletin), providing analyses for the countries and region of assignment.
  • Prepares special GIEWS alerts/updates on specific imminent food crises in the countries and region of assignment.
  • Provides inputs on crop production and food security to periodical reports/bulletins that GIEWS carries out in collaboration with other organizations. These include the annual Global Report on Food Crises by the Food Security Information Network (FSIN), the FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) Hunger Hotspots report and the monthly Crop Monitor for Early Warning by the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM).
  • Develops and contributes to partnerships with other FAO units, international organizations and regional and national institutions working in the field of early warning.
  • Organizes, participates in, or leads Crop and Food Security Assessment Missions (CFSAMs) and other types of missions to countries facing impending food crises to assess agricultural production and food supply/security situation.
  • • Provides technical support to capacity development activities in the areas of early warning information systems and market and food security analysis.
  • Contributes to the development of tools and new methodologies for food security indicators and early warning, including through machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • Participates in relevant meetings, conferences and media interviews related to the GIEWS mandate.
  • Prepares briefs, technical notes, speaking points and presentations for senior management.
  • Performs other related duties, as required.

Candidates Will Be Assessed Against The Following:

Minimum Requirements:

  • Advanced university degree in economics, agricultural economics or a related field.
  • Five years of relevant experience in economic analysis of agriculture and food security in developing countries.
  • Working knowledge (proficient – level C) of English and limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of another FAO official language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish)

Technical/Functional Skills:

  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions, is desirable.
  • Extent and relevance of experience in monitoring and analysing agricultural production trends and food security in developing countries.
  • Extent and relevance of experience in conducting quantitative economic analysis of food production, consumption, stocks, trade, prices and policies of food commodities.
  • Extent and relevance of experience in conducting crop and food security assessments in developing countries.
  • Extent and relevance of experience in contributing to and coordinating multi-institutional global food security analysis.
  • Depth of familiarity with existing information and early warning systems on food and agriculture.
  • Ability and experience in using satellite-based data and other digital tools for monitoring crop production is desirable.
  • Work experience in an international environment, especially at field level in developing countries, would be an asset.
  • Demonstrated ability to write clearly and concisely and to work under strict deadlines.
  • Experience in developing projects and in resource mobilization.





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