3.3.1 Identification of existing markets with available data
Before actually providing the criteria for selecting markets and commodities that should be
monitored, it is important to identify (and map) markets for which there is regular reporting
of price data and market information. This activity has two benefits. First, by mapping the
existing markets it becomes easy to see where there are reporting gaps. The next step is to
discuss with the market information system the need to increase their collection coverage.
Also, the identification of this gap in the collection and reporting of prices should be a
stimulus for the need to collect marketing information when on field trips to these areas.
During these field trips a supplemental database could be developed that includes prices for
those markets without regular data collection. The second benefit of developing a map of
the collection and reporting of price data is that it can be overlaid (put on top of) a map of
production and consumption patterns to provide a stronger basis to understand prices and
markets. An example of a map of the reporting coverage of markets is presented in Figure
Figure 3.7: Reporting markets in Zimbabwe
3.3.2 Selection of markets
Selecting which markets to monitor is a critical decision before monitoring prices and
markets. This decision should be based on the information generated in the previous
section using the worksheets, which uses historical patterns as a guide. These worksheets
have guided you to identify different types of markets (section 3.2.3). The next step is to
establish a balance between the number of markets that are monitored with the available
resources and the heterogeneity of market conditions. More resources may mean that
more markets could be covered. More heterogeneous of market conditions mean that
more markets need to be monitored.
In a situation where there are only a few markets (less than twenty) reporting regularly,
the analyst is advised to monitor all of the markets. The information generated using the
worksheet in this case will guide the interpretation of the price data.