Who wins and who loses from staple food price spikes?: welfare implications for Mozambique

With a large share of the population dependent on agriculture and high exposure to natural disasters and other food price shocks, the welfare impacts of food price inflation in Mozambique cannot be ignored. This paper performs incidence analysis exploiting the spatial location of households to match data on consumption with production from agricultural activities to simulate the welfare effects of food price changes. The analysis focuses on maize, rice, and cassava, which form a substantial part of the Mozambican diet, as a source of calories and budgetary allocation. The results show large net negative welfare effects of food price rises in rural areas and small, negative effects in urban areas. A 10 percent increase in maize prices is associated with a reduction of 1.2 percent in consumption per capita in rural areas and 0.2 percent in urban areas. The effects from changes in the prices of rice and cassava are lower but qualitatively equal. Overall, the negative effects are larger for the bottom half of the distribution and imply that the price spike in 2016–17 may have translated into a poverty increase of 4-6 percentage points, with some of the poorest provinces bearing much of the brunt. The results hold to changes in some of the underlying assumptions of the simulations.