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Are low food prices pro-poor ? net food buyers and sellers in low-income countries

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  • Aksoy , M. Ataman
  • Isik-Dikmelik, Aylin

Abstract

There is a general consensus that most of the poor in developing countries are net food buyers and food price increases are bad for the poor. This could be expected of urban poor, but it is also often attributed to the rural poor. Recent food price increases have increased the importance of this issue, and the possible policy responses to these price increases. This paper examines the characteristics of net food sellers and buyers in nine low-income countries. Although the largest share of poor households are found to be net food buyers, almost 50 percent of net food buyers are marginal net food buyers who would not be significantly affected by food price increases. Only three of the nine countries examined exhibited a substantial proportion of vulnerable households. The average incomes (as measured by expenditure) of net food buyers were found to be higher than net food sellers in eight of the nine countries examined. Thus, food price increases, ceteris paribus, would transfer income from generally higher income net food buyers to poorer net food sellers. The analysis also finds that the occupations and income sources of net sellers and buyers in rural areas are significantly different. In rural areas where food production is the main activity and where there are limited non-food activities, the incomes of net buyers might depend on the incomes and farming activities of net food sellers. These results suggest the need for reevaluation of the consensus on the impact of food prices on food needs. Further work on the regional differences, and more important, on the second order effects, are necessary to answer these questions more precisely. Only on the basis of further analysis can we start generating better policy responses.

Suggested Citation

  • Aksoy , M. Ataman & Isik-Dikmelik, Aylin, 2008. "Are low food prices pro-poor ? net food buyers and sellers in low-income countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4642, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4642
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schoneveld, George Christoffel, 2014. "The geographic and sectoral patterns of large-scale farmland investments in sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 34-50.
    2. Sahlén, Linda, 2008. "The Impacts of Food- and Oil Price Shocks on the Namibian Economy: the Role of Water Scarcity," Umeå Economic Studies 758, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    3. José Cuesta & Suzanne Duryea & Fidel Jaramillo & Marcos Robles, 2010. "Distributive impacts of the food price crisis in the Andean region," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 846-865.
    4. Estrades, Carmen & Terra, María Inés, 2012. "Commodity prices, trade, and poverty in Uruguay," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 58-66.
    5. Derek Headey & Sangeetha Malaiyandi & Shenggen Fan, 2010. "Navigating the perfect storm: reflections on the food, energy, and financial crises," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(s1), pages 217-228, November.
    6. de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2010. "The Global Food Crisis and Guatemala: What Crisis and for Whom?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1328-1339, September.
    7. Cudjoe, Godsway & Breisinger, Clemens & Diao, Xinshen, 2008. "Local impacts of a global crisis: Food price transmission and poverty impacts in Ghana," GSSP working papers 15, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Verpoorten, Marijke & Arora, Abhimanyu & Stoop, Nik & Swinnen, Johan, 2013. "Self-reported food insecurity in Africa during the food price crisis," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 51-63.
    9. Miranda, Mario J. & Farrin, Kathleen M. & Larson, Donald F. & Chen, Shu-Ling, 2013. "Differential Effects of Food Security Policies on Subsistence Farmers and the Urban Poor," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149736, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Derek Headey & Shenggen Fan, 2008. "Anatomy of a crisis: the causes and consequences of surging food prices," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 375-391, November.
    11. Francesco Caracciolo & Fabio Gaetano Santeramo, 2013. "Price Trends and Income Inequalities: Will Sub-Saharan Africa Reduce the Gap?," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 25(1), pages 42-54, March.
    12. Ian Coxhead & Vu Hoang Linh & Le Dong Tam, 2012. "Global market shocks and poverty in Vietnam: the case of rice," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43(5), pages 575-592, September.
    13. Ole Boysen, 2013. "High food prices and their implications for poverty in Uganda - From demand system estimation to simulation," EcoMod2013 5438, EcoMod.
    14. Delphine Boutin, 2011. "D'une crise à l'autre : mesurer l'impact des prix alimentaires sur la pauvreté," Working Papers hal-00637608, HAL.
    15. Craig Sugden, 2009. "Responding to High Commodity Prices," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 23(1), pages 79-105, May.
    16. Hadley, Craig & Linzer, Drew A. & Belachew, Tefera & Mariam, Abebe Gebre & Tessema, Fasil & Lindstrom, David, 2011. "Household capacities, vulnerabilities and food insecurity: Shifts in food insecurity in urban and rural Ethiopia during the 2008 food crisis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(10), pages 1534-1542.
    17. Cudjoe, Godsway & Breisinger, Clemens & Diao, Xinshen, 2010. "Local impacts of a global crisis: Food price transmission, consumer welfare and poverty in Ghana," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 294-302, August.
    18. Sisira Jayasuriya & Purushottam Mudbhary & Sumiter Broca, 2013. "Food Security in Asia: Recent Experiences, Issues and Challenges," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(3), pages 275-288, September.
    19. Joseph V. Balagtas & Humnath Bhandari & Ellanie R. Cabrera & Samarendu Mohanty & Mahabub Hossain, 2014. "Did the commodity price spike increase rural poverty? Evidence from a long-run panel in Bangladesh," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(3), pages 303-312, May.
    20. Dessus, Sebastien, 2008. "The short and longer term potential welfare impact of global commodity inflation in Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4760, The World Bank.
    21. Sahlén, Linda, 2009. "Essays on Environmental and Development Economics - Public Policy, Resource Prices and Global Warming," Umeå Economic Studies 762, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    22. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:543-559 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Food&Beverage Industry; Rural Poverty Reduction; Poverty Lines;

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