The demand for Food in South Africa
Food consumption is an important issue in South Africa, not only in its relation to poverty and deprivation, but also given the importance of nutrition in allowing HIV/AIDS sufferers to lead extended, productive lives. With the pressing need to increase food security and the enormity of the epidemic, understanding the demand for food has become a vital task. It is important that the determinants of the demand for food are understood, so that responses of household food consumption to changes in the prices of foodstuffs, prices of other commodities, and total expenditure can be anticipated. There is, however, surprisingly little economic research on this topic. This paper provides an empirical analysis of the demand for food in South Africa for the years 1970 to 2002. It uses two modelling approaches, a general dynamic log-linear demand equation and a dynamic version of the almost ideal demand system to provide estimates of the short- and long-run price and expenditure demand elasticities.
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