FAO’s Big Data tool on food chains
under the COVID-19 pandemic



With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, FAO’s Data Lab developed a set of new tools to help the organization and all stakeholders address the following questions:
  • How is the COVID pandemic impacting on value chains and food security?
  • Where, when and how is the COVID disrupting value chains? What are the related problems and concerns? What measures are being taken?
  • Where, when and how is the COVID impacting food supply and food demand of the staple food? What other products are affected? What is happening to the most vulnerable ones?

The approach is to use open access resources and add value by organizing information, make it searchable by users, rank it by relevance, and summarize it with analysis and graphs.

Tool development followed three principles:

  • Simple and quick to go live: this principle drove the selection of information sources who had to be global, open and stable.
  • Daily updates: the Lab aimed at almost real time information to meet users needs. All databases are updated once a day.
  • Sustainable pace: databases and graphs update automatically.

The methodology adds value to the wealth of raw information by selecting the most relevant pieces, by organising and tagging information, and by allowing the users to carry semantic search. All selected information has to contain a reference to the #COVID-19 or #coronavirus in association with one or more keywords related to economic or food issues. We then rank information by relevance, analyse it and visualized it.

COVID-19 Impact

Daily prices

Tweets Search

News search

Keywords, Tags, Classifications and standards

Contacts: FAO Datalab (ESS-datalab@fao.org)