Advocata launches tool to track daily food price changes | Sunday Observer

Advocata launches tool to track daily food price changes

11 April, 2021

Advocata’s latest policy product tracks the average retail prices of a basket of goods and provides an indication of how much prices have changed over time.  With the use of such tools, anyone including policymakers and politicians alike could track price fluctuations.

This enables anyone to see if policies that have direct or indirect effects on food have a direct impact on the food consumed by households. The indicator launch was held at the BMICH on Wednesday. 

The newly launched Bath Curry Indicator tries to provide such a policy direction while highlighting the importance of the affordability of food. Around 35% of household expenditure is on food and drink. Therefore, the Indicator is a tool to see how policies coming into effect directly or indirectly impact food prices.

A research executive at the Advocata Institute, Naqiya Shiraz outlined the rationale behind the Bath Curry Indicator by commenting that the BCI “represents any average Sri Lanka household. The items are Samba rice, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, brinjals, coconut, green chillies and fish. Therefore it is important to understand the decisions that impact the prices of goods. According to Economist Deshal de Mel, “The idea behind the BCI is that in Sri Lanka the cost of living is a concern. The inflation in Sri Lanka has been of single-digit levels for the last two years but it is still a concern for the public.  The Bath Curry Indicator is similar to the ‘Big Mac Index’ by The Economist. It is simplistic and real.” 

Economic Researcher and Blogger, RehanaThowfeekZain was of a similar opinion when she commented that such indicators can be used to highlight the impact of policies that affect people’s food consumption.

According to her, the BCI will “Capture a relatable way to cover the cost of living and also investigate the merit behind politicians when they use the cost of living as a hook in their election manifesto. Fifty-three percent of the Sri Lanka population can’t afford a healthy diet, That’s a huge number. We are food secure but are we nutrition secure? Children don’t develop as they should. Trade policies should focus on the overall objective and cater to the health of Sri Lanka’s population.” Thereby highlighting the socioeconomic impact of rising food prices on the public.  The panelists for the discussion were Deshal de Mel (Economist), RehanaThowfeekZain (Economic Researcher and Blogger) and Naqiya Shiraz (Researcher). The discussion was moderated by Research Manager, Advocata Institute, AneethaWarusavitarana.