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Putting the 2007/2008 global food crisis in longer-term perspective: Trends in staple food affordability in urban Zambia and Kenya

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  • Mason, Nicole M.
  • Jayne, T.S.
  • Chapoto, Antony
  • Donovan, Cynthia

Abstract

Staple food prices in cities in eastern and southern Africa rose sharply between late 2007 and early 2009, leading to estimates of massive increases in food insecurity and hunger. However, in assessing the impacts of soaring food prices on urban consumers' access to food it is important to consider food price changes relative to changes in per capita incomes. In this study, we use the case studies of Zambia and Kenya, where data are available on food prices, wage rates, incomes, and other indicators of urban purchasing power to answer two main questions: (i) how did staple food purchasing power at the height of the food price crisis compare to levels over the last 15Â years? and (ii) did the food price crisis exacerbate an already declining trend in staple food purchasing power, or did it reverse a trend of stable or improving staple food affordability? Results indicate that staple food purchasing power in urban Zambia and Kenya improved markedly in the 10-12Â years prior to the food price crisis. Most measures of bread and maize meal affordability at the start of the crisis in 2007 were at levels 1.0-4.3 times higher than in the mid-1990s. These gains for urban consumers were slashed but not completely reversed during the food crisis. Between 2007 and 2009, maize meal and bread were still more affordable in urban Zambia than all periods between 1994 and 2003. In urban Kenya, staple food purchasing power as of 2008/2009 was comparable to levels in 2000/2001-2004/2005 according to some indicators, while other measures suggest that the food price crisis reduced staple food purchasing power to levels lower than any other year in the period 1994/1995-2007/2008.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

Volume (Year): 36 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 350-367

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:3:p:350-367

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

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Keywords: Food price crisis Purchasing power Urban consumers Kenya Zambia Africa;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sitko, Nicholas J. & Jayne, T.S., 2012. "Why are African commodity exchanges languishing? A case study of the Zambian Agricultural Commodity Exchange," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 275-282.
  2. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, Will & Zaman, Hassan, 2011. "Estimating the short-run poverty impacts of the 2010-11 surge in food prices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5633, The World Bank.
  3. Headey, Derek D. & Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Worku, Ibrahim & Dereje, Mekdim & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2012. "Urban wage behavior and food price inflation: the case of Ethiopia [Working Paper]:," ESSP working papers 41, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Grace, Kathryn & Brown, Molly & McNally, Amy, 2014. "Examining the link between food prices and food insecurity: A multi-level analysis of maize price and birthweight in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 56-65.
  5. Mason, Nicole M. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Shiferaw, Bekele A., 2012. "Wheat Consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Drivers, and Policy Implications," Food Security International Development Working Papers 146936, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  6. Resnick, Danielle & Thurlow, James, 2014. "The political economy of Zambia’s recovery: Structural change without transformation?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1320, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Headey, Derek D., 2013. "The impact of the global food crisis on self-assessed food security," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6329, The World Bank.
  8. Lauren Q. Sneyd, 2013. "Wild Food, Prices, Diets and Development: Sustainability and Food Security in Urban Cameroon," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(11), pages 4728-4759, November.
  9. Gage, Daria, 2011. "Revitalizing Zambia’s Agricultural Marketing Information Centre (Amic)," Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs 113646, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.

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