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The effect of food–price movements on African households

Journal article
Authors David Bryngelsson
Anders Åhlén
U. Martin Persson
Christian Azar
Published in International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology
Volume 9
Issue 3-4
Pages 121-146
ISSN 1741-5004
Publication year 2012
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
Department of Economics
Pages 121-146
Language en
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
Subject categories Globalization Studies, Economics and Business, Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified


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.

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