Food Crises and Food Markets: Implications for Emergency Response in Southern Africa
Concern about humanitarian crises in southern Africa, especially in light of the surge in world food prices since 2007, has been accompanied by calls for direct government action in food markets. This paper reviews how Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique handled private food markets during the food crises of 2001/02, 2002/03, and 2005/06, which may provide important lessons for the management of future crises. Lack of trust between government and traders can lead to behavior that undermines the interests of each and harms consumers and farmers; Malawi and Zambia have persistently fallen into this trap while Mozambique has partially avoided it. Empirical policy analysis can make an important contribution to resolution only within a consultative process involving a broad range of (often fractious) stakeholders.
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