Economic reform and food prices: Evidence from markets in Ghana

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The paper investigates trends in food prices in Ghana between 1970-93, during which time a range economic reforms were instigated. Regression results confirm that real wholesale prices of food have been declining since the 1970s. Price trends in the 1980s are characterized by a downward shift at the beginning of the post reform period and a subsequent continuing downward trend. Despite falling grain prices, it is found that agricultural wage rates failed to provide an adequate basis for subsistence, particularly during periods of large seasonal price rises. Many farmers hold grain for both speculation and to smooth income. This view is supported by evidence regarding seasonal price spreads that have been increasing since 1984. No support was found, however, for conclusions of trader manipulation of marketing margins during the adjustment period.


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Economic policy, Income generation, Market demand, Cereals, Income, Demand, Seasonal variation, Marketing margins, Food prices, Trends, Prices, Governance


World Development 24(3): 521-534