Mapping Somalia’s growing food prices

A young girl in Dadaab

To track the continuing crisis in the Horn of Africa, Development Seed, a tech company focused in international development, has created a series of maps that reflect the past year’s spike in Somalia’s food prices.

Using data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Informational and Early Warning System, which follows food prices around the world, users can examine the ways in which price increases have impacted the region. Understanding the root cause of problems currently faced and the role prices play is crucial to effective assistance and greater long-term solutions.

Given their interactive nature, the maps give users the opportunity to learn more about where food prices have increased most dramatically in 12 central food markets across the country, as well as by how much.


Focused on major basic grains, namely white maize, sorghum and rice, the dots featured on all three maps are scaled to reflect the percentage increase of prices since 2010. Additionally, each dot offers further detailed information about its corresponding market, allowing viewers a deeper understanding both of the drought and famine’s current devastation and of its history.


To navigate, hover over each percentage dot and take a look at increases in prices between July 2010 and July 2011. The corresponding graphs featured are also helpful tools to understanding the major shift that has occurred over the past five years. Prices are measured in both Somali shillings and US dollars, allowing users in the US a better understanding of just how dramatic increases have been.

Imported Rice:

This particular series is especially important in measuring the regional impact of the famine within Somalia. Though a number of markets throughout the area have experienced a 200 percent price increase in the past 12 months, viewers can see that much of the most significant change was seen in the south. Furthermore, analysis of all fluctuations over the past five years show us that Somalia’s current food prices are higher than ever before, including the global food crisis of 2008.

These maps are part of Development Seed’s ongoing coverage of the crisis in the Horn of Africa, as well as their growing collection of public resources designed to help keep those working in international development informed on most recent changes. Take a look at ONE’s previous blog post of the maps that the organization built to track the spread of Somalia’s famine.