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The Maize Price Spike of 2012/13: Understanding the Paradox of High Prices despite Abundant Supplies

Author

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  • Sitko, Nicholas J.
  • Kuteya, Auckland N.

Abstract

The 2012 harvest was, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock national food balance sheet estimates, a major surplus production season. However, by November the same year, Zambia started experiencing widespread maize meal shortages and skyrocketing maize meal prices. Responding to these shortages and price spikes, the government increased the price subsidies it provided on maize sold by the parastatal Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to large-scale maize mills and imposed de facto price controls on maize meal by threatening to revoke the business licenses of commercial maize mills if retail prices of a 25kg bag of maize meal exceeded kwacha rebased (KR) 50. Despite these efforts maize meal prices continued to rise, reaching as high as KR100 in some markets by February 2013.

Suggested Citation

  • Sitko, Nicholas J. & Kuteya, Auckland N., 2013. "The Maize Price Spike of 2012/13: Understanding the Paradox of High Prices despite Abundant Supplies," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 171871, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:midcwp:171871
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/171871
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicole M. Mason & Robert J. Myers, 2013. "The effects of the Food Reserve Agency on maize market prices in Zambia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(2), pages 203-216, March.
    2. Shenggen Fan & Peter Hazell & Sukhadeo Thorat, 2000. "Government Spending, Growth and Poverty in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1038-1051.
    3. Myers, Robert J., 2006. "On the costs of food price fluctuations in low-income countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 288-301, August.
    4. Jayne, Thomas S. & Mason, Nicole M. & Myers, Robert J. & Ferris, John N. & Mather, David & Sitko, Nicholas & Beaver, Margaret & Lenski, Natalie & Chapoto, Antony & Boughton, Duncan, 2010. "Patterns and Trends in Food Staples Markets in Eastern and Southern Africa: Toward the Identification of Priority Investments and Strategies for Developing Markets and Promoting Smallholder Productivi," Food Security International Development Working Papers 62148, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Mason, Nicole M. & Jayne, Thomas S., 2009. "Staple Food Consumption Patterns in Urban Zambia: Results from the 2007/2008 Urban Consumption Survey," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 56803, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Mason, Nicole M. & Jayne, T.S. & Chapoto, Antony & Donovan, Cynthia, 2011. "Putting the 2007/2008 global food crisis in longer-term perspective: Trends in staple food affordability in urban Zambia and Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 350-367, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kuteya, Auckland N. & Sitko, Nicholas J., 2014. "Creating Scarcity From Abundance: Bumper Harvests, High Prices, And The Role Of State Interventions In Zambian Maize Markets," Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs 171877, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    2. Sitko, Nicholas J. & Chamberlin, Jordan & Mulenga, Brian, 2015. "Unpacking the Growth of Medium-scale Farms Zambia: What Are the Implications for the Future of Smallholder Agriculture?," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 212901, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    3. Sitko, Nicholas J. & Chisanga, Brian, 2016. "How Is Multinational Investment in Grain and Oilseed Trading Reshaping the Smallholder Markets in Zambia?," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 234948, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    4. Fung, Winnie & Liverpool-Tasie, Saweda & Mason, Nicole & Oyelere, Ruth, 2015. "Can Crop Purchase Programs Reduce Poverty and Improve Welfare in Rural Communities? Evidence from the Food Reserve Agency in Zambia," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211637, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Chapoto, Antony & Chisanga, Brian & Kuteya, Auckland & Kabwe, Stephen, 2015. "Bumper Harvests a Curse or a Blessing for Zambia: Lessons from the 2014/15 Maize Marketing Season," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 202881, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    6. Nicholas Sitko & Jordan Chamberlin, 2015. "The Anatomy of Medium-Scale Farm Growth in Zambia: What Are the Implications for the Future of Smallholder Agriculture?," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-19, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Security and Poverty;

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