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IDB to launch new online tool for agriculture policy analysis in Latin America and the Caribbean

The online tool enable policymakers to make informed decisions regarding prices and subsidies, and to plan for factors such as climate change that affect food security

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will launch on Thursday, May 8 the Agrimonitor Producer Support Estimate (PSE) Agricultural Policy Monitoring System, an online tool for agricultural analysis with the goal of improving farming policies and practices in Latin America and the Caribbean, during a workshop at its headquarters. 

The IDB believes this quantitative tool, designed by Stanford University Professor Tim Josling, will create a better understanding of policies affecting food security, trade integration, competitiveness and rural poverty and their links with climate change in the region. Prof. Josling will offer a general explanation of the new tool at the workshop. 

The tool offers relevant country-by-country and region-specific analysis as that already being applied by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development to its member countries since 1989. The PSE is a widely used platform that provides quantitative information on commodity prices, direct payments to producers and general services. 

According to PSE data collected between 2003 and 2012, Latin America and the Caribbean have lagged behind the global shift away from heavy dependency on price support for agriculture to direct payments and general services. 

Of the $30 billion that the region’s governments spend on agricultural sector policy support, $14 billion comes from market price support, $13 billion from direct payments, and just $3 billion from general services such as agricultural research, plant and animal health inspection services, rural infrastructure and other public goods. 

Besides its contribution to sector policymaking, the IDB believes this tool could be crucial to planning the region’s policies on climate change. At the workshop, Prof. Josling will run a special demonstration on this topic. The workshop will then conclude with a roundtable discussion on how to market the Agrimonitor to policymakers, agronomists, development experts and the mass media in order to influence regional policy reforms.