The Effect of Monetary Changes on Relative Agricultural Prices
Relative change in agricultural prices determines farmers` investment decisions, productivity and income. Thus, understanding the factors that influence agricultural prices is fundamental for sustainable growth in this sector and the rest of the economy. This paper investigates the short- and long-run impacts of monetary policy changes on relative agricultural prices in South Africa by employing Johansen cointegration analysis and the Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) respectively. The results of Johansen cointegration analysis reject the long-run money neutrality hypothesis which suggests that the rate of increase in prices is not unit proportional to the rate of increase in money supply. On the other hand, the results of the dynamic relationships provide evidence of agricultural prices being overshot. Therefore, when a monetary shock occurs, the agriculture sector will have to bear the burden of adjustment, increasing farmersÂ’ financial vulnerability. Consumers also have to absorb short-run price volatility and overshooting of prices which in turn impacts on their ability to manage their cash flow optimally; this could be a substantial challenge in poor households. Due to the linkages between monetary policy variables and relative agricultural prices, it is recommended that agricultural policy makers and monetary authorities work closely in designing and implementing monetary policy in the country. This is important because monetary policies meant to stabilize the economy may have less desirable impacts on farmers and consumers, especially in the short run.
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