since people in different parts of a country may consume very different foods
it provides the context to understanding historical price behavior (through time series
Consumption patterns vary depending on access to commodities (whether households live in
rural or urban areas) and income (whether households are wealthier or poorer). The
challenge for monitoring prices is to understand consumption patterns by socioeconomic
group, geographic area, and level of urbanization to be able to infer the impact of changes in
prices or significant market developments for food security. Not only are there differences
in consumption patterns in terms of the type of goods that are consumed across groups, but
also there are differences in terms of the level of processing of goods being sold. For
example, in southern Africa it is more likely that maize will be sold as grain in the rural
areas than in a city. Also, imported commodities tend to be consumed more by urban
groups (e.g., rice and wheat in southern Africa). The knowledge of the above aspects of
consumption patterns better prepares the analyst to interpret changes in price and market
Appendix C provides a blank detailed step by step worksheet to identify the major
consumption patterns in a particular country. The information generated using this
worksheet should be printed and saved in a folder for use during the monitoring and analysis
of prices and markets. An example of a completed worksheet is presented in Figure 3.2.
Figure 3.2: Sample completed worksheet on consumption patterns
Worksheet to identify consumption patterns
Print out a map of the country at the district level for each of the commodities listed
above that is consumed in a specific part of the country. If the district level is not
available, then print out a map at the provincial level.
: This worksheet will guide the analyst through a series of steps to identify the major
consumption patterns in their country. The steps described below are intended to be sequential,
For each major staple foods draw on one of the maps the area in the country where that
food is the primary staple food for a majority of the people.
and should be done in order. The objective for this worksheet is to have a spatial understanding
of consumption patterns throughout the country. This input will be very important in selecting
which commodities will be monitored intensively, and which commodities will be monitored
Write a brief summary about the consumption pattern in your country. The summary
should include comments about:
What is the major staple food in the country?
What other important staple foods are there in the country?
Are there any staple food that are specific (or consumed more) to a
Photocopy this worksheet. Use only the photocopy for the steps described below. The
particular part of the country? If yes, what part of the country?
original should remain unmarked in the manual for future use.
What commodities that should be monitored and why?
Fill out the table below answering the following questions:
Tips if the answers to the above questions are not easily available:
List the major staple foods consumed in your country.
Rank each staple food in terms of its importance in national
Try to identify any consumption studies that have been done for your
country. A good source to acquire these studies are universities,
For each staple food, state whether it is consumed by poorer
donors (who sometimes fund these studies), other government
households, wealthier households, or all households.
ministry offices, and NGOs.
For each staple food, state whether it is consumed by rural
households, urban households, or all households.
Send out a very brief (2 3 questions) questionnaire to be completed
by extension workers to ask what are the consumption patterns in
Is this commodity consumed or in the entire country or only in specific parts?
Staple food? Rank? Poor/wealthy/all HH's? Rural/urban/ Region
all HH's? Specific
Ask provincial staff (agriculture, social welfare, health, )
Rural North, Luapula
Rural South, North
4 Poor Rural South, North