6.6 Types of Assessments: Market Assessments
  • 11 Mar 2024
  • 7 Minutes to read
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6.6 Types of Assessments: Market Assessments

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Article summary

In today’s market economies, people’s livelihoods depend to a significant extent on markets. Sudden shocks can severely limit the functioning of markets and, as a result, can have strong negative impact on people’s capacity to meet their food and other essential needs or pursue their livelihoods activities. Assessing the functioning of markets during rapid or in-depth needs assessment is therefore key for the FSC and should inform the response analysis to determine the best-suited food security interventions and transfer mechanisms considering the state of the relevant markets (see 5.6 on harmonising the FSC response). Market assessments involve analysis at diverse levels (micro, meso and macro) and in a range of areas (value chains, competition) and can involve secondary data analysis, price monitoring, market visits and/or trader surveys. A market assessment is also a key component of a CBT feasibility and risk analysis, and should factor in a gender and protection lens in order to capture all aspects of accessibility to the marketplaces. While market assessments are core to choose/confirm the modality of assistance selected (or the delivery mechanism), it is important to routinely monitor markets in order to gather data and evidence on potential shocks, changes in patterns, as well as early warning signs. 

Many organisations have their own tools to monitor markets, however, below are the some of the most well-known tools including the EMMA, the JMMI and the JRAM. The role of the Coordinator is highlighted at the end of this section.

Sphere Guidance: It is recommended that assessments include an analysis of markets that meets the Minimum Standard for Market Analysis (MISMA) and/or the Minimum Economic Recovery Standard (MERS) Assessment and Analysis standards. See also Delivering assistance through markets.

Other Resources: The online FAO Markets assessment and analysis course illustrates how markets operate and how they relate to, and affect, food security and vulnerable households. See also the market section in the WFP VAM Resource Center and Comprehensive Food Security & Vulnerability Analysis Guidelines. WFP’s Economic Explorer shows trends in prices, availability of commodities in markets and other macro-economic indicators.

Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA)     

The Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) toolkit is designed for sudden onset crises. Using a combination of existing tools, from seasonal calendars to market systems maps, the EMMA provides analysis on constraints and capacity of critical market systems, usually for a specific category of products, as well as response recommendations that detail how far the critical markets analysed can help deliver humanitarian assistance, which areas of the market may need additional support in this aid delivery and can further suggest ways in which interventions may strengthen the market systems in the longer term.

Resources: See the EMMA Toolkit website and the EMMA toolkit (which walks users through a practical, 10-step process). For a quick overview see the FSC website.

Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI)

Used in multiple countries, the harmonised, inter-agency Joint Market Monitoring Initiatives (JMMIs) are led by REACH and supported by CWG members. They bring together cash actors to regularly collect data on market prices, functionality, and accessibility, which helps inform cash-based interventions and improve the understanding of market dynamics. JMMIs enable the calculation and adjustment of local Minimum Expenditure Baskets as well as of the standard transfer values used in multi-purpose cash.

Resources: All of REACH’s cash and voucher assistance-related can be accessed on the REACH Resource Centre.

Joint Rapid Assessment of Markets (JRAM)

Coordinated Joint Rapid Assessments of Markets (JRAMs), led by REACH, provide a quick snapshot of how and whether markets are able to respond effectively to a well-defined shock and help assess market health and the feasibility of introducing cash-based programming. The primary objectives of the JRAM are to understand the impact of the (protracted or sudden onset) crisis on markets, specifically infrastructure, supply, prices, availability of key goods and the ability of traders to respond to an increase in demand. Data collection is often conducted jointly by CWG members with REACH providing provide technical support (including the indicator analysis tool).

Resources: All of REACH’s cash and voucher assistance-related can be accessed on the REACH Resource Centre.  

Note: IFRC and ICRC also uses a Rapid Assessment for Markets (RAM) tool to provide a quick and basic introduction to how key markets operate in the immediate aftermath of a sudden shock. See Rapid Assessment for Markets: Guidelines (ICRC and IFRC, 2014). 

Financial Service Providers Assessment

Financial Service Provider (FSP) Assessments are also undertaken at country level, often by REACH and CWG members (and CaLP). These map FSP options for delivering CVA, alongside the infrastructural and regulatory environment. They aim to help the CWG better understand the most appropriate delivery method of cash-based interventions to be used by humanitarian actors. Additionally, FSPs assessments are also aimed to study the providers’ capacity to scale up should a shock occur and monitor how accessible they would be in case of crisis. This is part of core preparedness measures for humanitarian actors.

What is the role of the FSC Coordinator? The Coordinator should disseminate findings within the FSC and ensure results inform any guidance on CVA assistance within the FSC, as appropriate.  

Resources: See more on CaLP’s website. See an example of an FSP Assessment Report from Yemen (REACH, 2019) here

Monitoring of Markets, Prices and Terms of Trade  

Although not strictly market assessment tools, the monitoring of markets/prices and terms of trade are important sources of information. These are two separate exercises but often done at the same time. Even though the FSC and the Coordinator are not involved as such (such monitoring is undertaken by FAO , WFP and often partners as well), monitoring of prices for example provides a good indicator for early warning (i.e. it supports early warning through price alerts) – especially for slow onset. Price monitoring can also help checking the impact of FSC programming on markets - for example if CBT programmes led to price increases. Terms of trade monitoring can help identifying changes in household purchasing power, particularly after an economic shock or seasonal increase in prices.


Price Monitoring can provide a timely insight into many different drivers that influence the functioning of a market and that are relevant for food assistance programming. See more here:

Terms of Trade can provide a direct measure of food access (e.g. how much of a given food commodity can a labourer's (unskilled job) wage buy?). See more here:

Market Assessments Overall - What is the role of the FSC Coordinator?  

The Coordinator should consider the following:

  • Contribute to the EMMA, JMMI and JRAM through the CWG where relevant.
  • Where relevant, help coordinate market assessments within the FSC – or encourage inter-sector market assessments where relevant to save resources.
  • Disseminate findings within the FSC and ensure results inform CVA assistance within the FSC, as appropriate.  
  • Contribute to the definition of the list of food (and agriculture) items subject to market analysis / price monitoring. 
  • Facilitate harmonisation of methodologies (for instance, when doing price monitoring, are the organizations / agencies reporting the average or the minimum and maximum price, market sampling?).  
  • For monitoring of prices and terms of trade, the Coordinator should alert the cluster and ICCG/HCT in case such monitoring suggests increasing food prices, which could result in a food security crisis.

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