The End of Seasonality? New Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa
43 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2014
This paper revisits the extent of seasonality in African livelihoods, which has disappeared from Africa's development debate. Through econometric analysis of monthly food price series across 100 locations in three countries during 2000-12, it is shown that seasonal movements in maize wholesale prices explain 20 (Tanzania, Uganda) to 40 (Malawi) percent of their monthly volatility. Monthly maize peak prices are on average 30 (Tanzania, Uganda) to 50 (Malawi) percent higher than their monthly troughs and two to three times higher than the seasonal gaps observed for white maize at the South African Futures Exchange. Furthermore, household food consumption is found to inversely track food prices in each country, decreasing when staple prices increase and increasing when they decline. Clearly, (excess) seasonality in African food markets and consumption persists, necessitating policy attention.
Keywords: Food & Beverage Industry, Markets and Market Access, Access to Markets, Emerging Markets, Economic Theory & Research
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