Inderscience Publishers

The effect of food–price movements on African households

In this paper, we aim to assess households' vulnerability to food–price increases in four countries in sub–Saharan Africa. We use two established indicators of sensitivity to food price changes - one measuring the share of income spent on food, the other measuring net sales of food compared to total expenditures. In contrast to earlier studies, we look at all food items and not just one or a few staple foods and find that the exclusion of non–staple foods has a significant impact on the results. We find that the shares of the populations spending more than half of their income on food lie in the range 62% to 81% in rural areas and 26% to 67% in urban areas. Further, we find that in all countries/regions studied, most households (74% to 99%) in rural areas are net buyers of food and stand to lose in the short term from higher food prices.

Keywords: food prices, food price movements, poverty, food production, vulnerability indicators, sub–Saharan Africa, household survey, staple crops, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, food consumption, Tanzania, food price increases, food price changes, household income, food net sales, rural areas, urban areas

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