The rising costs of animal-source foods in Ethiopia: Evidence and implications
This working paper by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) analyzes animal-source foods (ASF) price patterns in the last decade (2007-2016). In many developing countries in which staple foods dominate the composition of diets, higher consumption of ASF is associated with significant nutritional benefits. Prices are important for consumption decisions in these settings. Therefore, this study was performed, relying on a large-scale price dataset collected in 116 urban retail markets in Ethiopia. Several typical patterns in ASF and livestock pricing can be highlighted. First, there is price seasonality mostly driven by changes in demand. Second, there are significant spatial patterns with higher prices in cities and in commercial livestock areas. Third, ASF are relatively expensive, with average prices of ASF per calorie and per kg about ten times as high as for staple cereals. Results show, worryingly, that real prices of ASF have been increasing in the last decade by between 32 to 36 percent for three major ASF, namely milk, eggs, and meat. This price trend is in contrast with staple cereals for which real prices stayed at similar levels. The authors estimate that a price increase of this magnitude would reduce consumption of ASF by approximately 25 percent. This requires more investments and attention to the production of ASF and the livestock sector to reduce ASF prices and increase their consumption in Ethiopia.