RATIN was developed to help reduce regional food insecurity by strengthening the ability of markets to provide access to affordable food to poor households and improve food availability through providing adequate incentives to producers.
It came out of the realization that although there are households among the food insecure that are structurally poor and are heavily dependent on food donations, there are also market-dependent households who are able to purchase food if it is available at the right time, price and quantity in the local markets through enhanced effective competition.
The major task of RATIN is to supply traders with improved early warning marketing and trade information that would lead to more efficient and competitive transactions in food trade between surplus and deficit regions in East Africa. Small and medium scale cross-border traders account for over 80 percent of regional trade in maize, beans and rice in East Africa. Consequently, they are the main target group of the RATIN information.