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Food price volatility in sub-Saharan Africa: Has it really increased?

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  • Minot, Nicholas

Abstract

The food price crisis of 2007–2008 and recent resurgence of food prices have focused increasing attention on the causes and consequences of food price volatility in international food markets and the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In this paper, we examine the patterns and trends in food price volatility using an unusually rich database of African staple food prices. We find that international grain prices have become more volatile in recent years (2007–2010) but no evidence that food price volatility has increased in the region. This contrasts with the widespread view that food prices have become more volatile in the region since the global food crisis of 2007–2008. In addition, the results suggest that price volatility is lower for processed and tradable food than for nontradable food, that volatility is lower in the major cities than in secondary cities, and that maize price volatility is actually higher in countries with the most active intervention to stabilize maize prices. These findings suggest that greater attention should be given to the (high) level of food prices in the region rather than volatility per se, that regional and international trade can play a useful role in reducing food price volatility, and that traditional food price stabilization efforts may be counterproductive.
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  • Minot, Nicholas, 2012. "Food price volatility in sub-Saharan Africa: Has it really increased?," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 134146, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae12:134146
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    1. Quintero Peralta, María Angélica & Gallardo Cobos, Rosa María & Ceña Delgado, Felisa, 2016. "Implicaciones de la disminución de la capacidad productiva de granos básicos sobre la alimentación en comunidades rurales pobres de México," Economia Agraria y Recursos Naturales, Spanish Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 16(2).
    2. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0702-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. David, T. & Gitau, R. & Meyer, F.H. & Chisanga, B. & Jayne, T.S., 2016. "Evaluating price volatility and the role of trade in Eastern and Southern African maize markets," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 249291, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    4. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0727-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lahmiri, Salim, 2017. "Asymmetric and persistent responses in price volatility of fertilizers through stable and unstable periods," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 466(C), pages 405-414.
    6. Larochelle, Catherine & Katungi, Enid & Cheng, Zhen, 2016. "Household consumption and demand for bean in Uganda: Determinants and implications for nutrition security," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246457, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    7. Gilbert, Christopher L. & Christiaensen, Luc & Kaminski, Jonathan, 2017. "Food price seasonality in Africa: Measurement and extent," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 119-132.
    8. Sassi, Maria, 2015. "The welfare cost of maize price volatility in Malawi," Bio-based and Applied Economics Journal, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), issue 1, April.
    9. Rosa, Franco & Weaver, Robert D. & Vasciaveo, Michela, 2015. "Structural Changes and Dairy Chain Efficiency in Italy," International Journal on Food System Dynamics, International Center for Management, Communication, and Research, vol. 6(3).
    10. Donato, Romano & Carraro, Alessandro, 2015. "Modelling Acreage, Production and Yield Supply Response to Domestic Price Volatility," 2015 Fourth Congress, June 11-12, 2015, Ancona, Italy 207278, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA).
    11. Romano, Donato & Carraro, Alessandro, 2015. "Price Shocks, Vulnerability and Food and Nutrition Security among Rural and Urban Households in Tanzania," 2015 Fourth Congress, June 11-12, 2015, Ancona, Italy 207281, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA).
    12. Pieters, Hannah & Swinnen, Johan, 2016. "Trading-off volatility and distortions? Food policy during price spikes," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 27-39.
    13. Ceballos, Francisco & Hernandez, Manuel A. & Minot, Nicholas & Robles, Miguel, 2017. "Grain Price and Volatility Transmission from International to Domestic Markets in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 305-320.
    14. Davids, Tracy & Schroeder, Kateryna G. & Meyer, Ferdinand & Chisanga, Brian, 2015. "Regional Price Transmission in Southern African Maize Markets," Proceedings Issues, 2014: Trade and Societal Well-Being, December 13-15, 2015, Clearwater Beach, Florida 229602, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    15. Johan Swinnen & Anneleen Vandeplas, 2014. "Price Transmission and Market Power in Modern Agricultural Value Chains," LICOS Discussion Papers 34714, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    16. Balié, Jean & Magrini, Emiliano & Morales Opazo, Cristian, 2016. "Cereal price shocks and volatility in Sub-Saharan Africa: What does really matter for farmers' welfare?," DARE Discussion Papers 1607, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    17. repec:fpr:ifpric:9780896292499-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Kalkuhl, Matthias & von Braun, Joachim & Torero, Maximo, 2016. "Food Price Volatility and Its Implications for Food Security and Policy," MPRA Paper 72164, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; Food Security and Poverty;

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