How Volatile are African Food Prices?
In this research brief and discussion paper, IFPRI's Nicholas Minot analyzes price instability in Africa over time to determine whether price instability has intensified in periods following a food crisis. For this analysis, ten African staple foods are considered, as well as 67 shifts in 11 countries from January 2003 to December 2010. Interestingly, Minot finds that contrary to common belief and despite volatility on the international markets, no such effect was seen in Africa during the same studied time periods. Although there were increases identified in certain commodities, in general prices for most commodities remained constant or experiences reductions in volatility. Taking these results into account, Minot urges us to reconsider the use and effects of government food stabilization programs and consider the benefits of other types of interventions such as productivity-increasing investments, which may have a greater impact.
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