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Urban food retailing and food prices in Africa: the case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Assefa
  • Girum Abebe
  • Indra Lamoot
  • Bart Minten

Abstract

Purpose - Despite the large interest in urban food markets, there are, however still relatively few good studies that have empirically documented the functioning of retail markets in developing countries, especially in Africa. The purpose of this paper is to look in particular at the case of Addis Ababa, a city of more than four million people and the capital of Ethiopia, one of the most populous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. To better understand urban food retail, the authors rely on a large primary survey. Design/methodology/approach - To better understand urban food retail, the authors rely on a large primary survey. Based on a stratified sampling scheme representative for the city as a whole, 1,226 urban food retail outlets were interviewed in March and April 2012. Findings - The authors find increasing differentiation in food retail markets in recent years. Despite the prohibition of foreign direct investment in food retail, a domestic modern private retail sector is quickly emerging. However, its share is still very small and, in contrast to roll-outs of modern retail in other countries, it has not yet entered the cereal sector, which remains in the hands of local flour mills, cereal shops, and cooperative retail outlets. The importance of cooperative retail is growing even more rapidly. It is especially important for those products where supply chains are controlled by the government. On the high-end, domestic private modern retail outlets deliver high-quality products at significantly higher prices, Research limitations/implications - The study is limited to the city of Addis Ababa and it seems useful if similar studies could be conducted in other cities in Africa. Originality/value - Despite the large interest in urban food markets, there are still relatively few good studies that have empirically documented the functioning of retail markets in developing countries, especially in Africa. The paper therefore contributes to fill this lacuna by studying urban food retail markets using new and unique data for Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Assefa & Girum Abebe & Indra Lamoot & Bart Minten, 2016. "Urban food retailing and food prices in Africa: the case of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia," Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(2), pages 90-109, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jadepp:jadee-02-2015-0009
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Hirvonen, Kalle & Minten, Bart & Yimer, Feiruz, 2017. "The rising costs of nutritious foods in Ethiopia," ESSP research notes 67, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Minten, Bart & Assefa, Thomas Woldu & Abebe, Girum & Engida, Ermias & Tamru, Seneshaw, 2016. "Food processing, transformation, and job creation: The case of Ethiopia’s enjera markets," ESSP working papers 96, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Minten, Bart & Tamru, Seneshaw & Reardon, Thomas, 2021. "Post-harvest losses in rural-urban value chains: Evidence from Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    4. Minten, Bart & Engida, Ermias & Tamru, Seneshaw, 2016. "How big are post-harvest losses in Ethiopia? Evidence from teff," ESSP working papers 93, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Minten, Bart & Yimer, Feiruz, 2017. "The rising costs of animal-source foods in Ethiopia: Evidence and implications," ESSP working papers 108, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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