The Food Balance Sheet (FBS) template was adapted from the FAO Food Balance Sheet format. Specific variations were introduced to make the FBS acquiescent as a tool for traders and policy makers. The FBS data contribution is meant to be completed monthly by the first week of each new month. The Food Balance Sheet reports constitute populated, validated and analyzed data that indicates the available food stocks for a particular specific region and time determined by a derived scientific formula to situate available food.
The background behind its development is recognition of it being an important tool towards the regions efforts of managing the food security situation. In principle, the Regional Food Balance Sheet is expected to give accurate and reliable information about food availability in the current period. It is a departure from the known traditional food balance sheet which gave historical information.
The RFBS is therefore a powerful tool for use by Governments in determining adequacy of food supplies for purposes managing food security concerns. Where the RFBS posts food surplus, the immediate impact is to release funds that the Government would have tied up in securing food not knowing that the region has sufficient food. It also encourages Governments to come up with proactive trade policy measures to encourage flow of food from countries which the RFBS reveal as having surplus. It therefore leads to actualization of the objectives of the EAC Customs Union of free flow of goods within the EAC region.
The RFBS is a powerful tool for the private sector to use in planning exports and imports. First preference due to preferential duties is the EAC regional market, where the private sector has an advantage over other supplies coming from outside the EAC region. It enables the private sector to use the hedge of Common External Tariffs which is in favor of intra-EAC trade to exploit trade potential for the various products covered under the RFBS. The RFBS is also a tool that the private sector will use to engage Governments whenever there are reported short fall in supplies as revealed by RFBS, cannot meet. In such a case, the RFBS data will be used to lobby for temporary stay of application of Common External Tariff for the products facing regional shortages.
The RFBS is a powerful tool for Relief Agencies to use in determining regional food security crisis and planning for relief supplies. It is also a useful tool for the Relief Agencies to use in sourcing food supplies from the region based on the revealed food availability.
The Food Balance Sheet is based on the accounting principle to account for:-
* Food supply (change of stock, production, imports) and
* Utilization (exports, domestic utilization) specific to a country or region and period.