Welfare impacts of increasing teff prices on Ethiopian consumers
Yanghao Wang and
Agricultural Economics, 2021, vol. 52, issue 2, 195-213
Teff is an ancient grain primarily produced in Ethiopia and providing more than 10% of the total calories consumed in the country. The grain is considered as “super grain” due to its nutritional qualities, and it has seen an increase in its demand and price in recent years. These trends raise public concerns about the affordability of the grain and the prevalence of food insecurity in Ethiopia. Therefore, we investigate the impacts of increasing teff prices on consumers’ welfare by regions. Using data from two waves of the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey 2013–2014 and 2015–2016, we examine the consumption patterns of cereals in Ethiopia and estimate a two‐stage structural demand system. We find that teff is the most own‐price inelastic grain in Ethiopia and an increase of 10% in teff prices will reduce consumer welfare by 0.81, 1.29, and 1.73 Birrs per week for the average rural, town, and urban consumers, respectively. These estimates correspond to 1.64, 2.31, and 2.46% of their weekly food budgets. We also find the negative effects of an increase in teff prices are smaller for the lower‐income groups as they have relatively lower expenditures on teff. Additionally, we analyze the effects of simultaneous changes in wheat and teff prices to measure the extent to which Ethiopia's food policy of distributing subsidized wheat could offset the consumer welfare loss due to an increase in teff prices.
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