A method for cleaning trade data for regional analysis: The Pacific Food Trade Database version 1 (1995-2018)

Through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research funded project ‘Agriculture and fisheries for improved nutrition: integrated agri-food systems for the Pacific region’ (FIS-2018-155), commonly referred to as the ‘Food Systems project’, the University of Wollongong, the Pacific Community and the University of Sydney are collaborating on an initiative to establish a regionally harmonised food and beverage trade database.  The Pacific Food Trade Database (PFTD) Version 1, which covers the period of 1995 to 2016, is currently being prepared. The corresponding methodological paper details the data cleaning protocols being undertaken to establish a clean, reliable and comparable trade database.

The PFTD will facilitate analysis of general trends of international food (incl. beverage and tobacco) trade in the Pacific region, and in-depth comparable analysis of food trade trends, such as for specific foods and trade partners.  The paper ‘A method for cleaning trade data for regional analysis: The Pacific Food Trade Database Version 1 (1995-2016)’ outlines the approach for reviewing and cleaning trade data for the Pacific region.  It draws on a robust global trade dataset (http://www.cepii.fr/CEPII/en/bdd_modele/presentation.asp?id=37), which controls for reporter reliability, standardises volumes, uses mirror data to expand available data, and controls for insurance and freight costs. The presented method parses out irrelevant trade records, and systematically cleans the data using a combination of expert elicitation and systematic imputation of unreliable quantity data. The final dataset includes 22 years of trade records for 21 Pacific Island Countries and Territories. The data is considered reliable at the regional and sub-regional levels.

The next step for this initiative is to add 2017-18 trade data to the database and to finalise the cleaning and the construct of PFTD Version 2 (PFTD_v2; 1995 to 2018).  Following this, the methodological paper will be published and a series food trade analytical outputs will be published and disseminated to key stakeholders – particularly policy makers and planners – throughout the Pacific region.  PFTD_v2 will ultimately become a regional public good, which will present researchers with significant opportunity to form an evidence base to support policy derivation to improve the functionality of the Pacific Food System to achieve improved nutritional and health outcomes for Pacific people.  

Imported foods are a significant source of food for Pacific Islanders and exports are an important source of foreign income for PICTs.  The technical and financial collaboration with our partners, the University of Wollongong, the University of Sydney, the Australian Centre for International Development and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has made this initiative possible and the Pacific Community (SPC) gratefully acknowledges these partners and is enthusiastic for the opportunities that this initiative will bring to better understand drivers of food trade and the role of international trade in the Pacific Food System.   

Presentation Documents and Links
The Pacific Food Trade Database (version 2, 1995-2018) pdf
Cleaning Trade data graph

Project status

On Going

Recent updates

  • 2017-18 trade data has been added to the Pacific Food Trade Database (PFTD)
    November 26, 2020 on A method for cleaning trade data for regional analysis: The Pacific Food Trade Database version 1 (1995-2018)
    The 2017-18 trade data has been added to the Pacific Food Trade Database (PFTD) and the methodological paper is updated to reflect the addition of the new data series. Refinements to the PFTD are ongoing.