All six steps should be completed on the worksheet. The answers from the worksheet
provide some useful insights. First, in the past there were price controls and subsidized
maize meal prices. These polices have resulted in the production of maize in areas of the
country that do not have sufficient rainfall to grow maize. This has increased risk of food
insecurity in these areas (e.g., Southern Province). The marketing of maize was
liberalized in the early 1990s, and there appears to be no restrictions on the assembly,
transportation, storage, processing, or sale (including export) of maize.
3.2.6 Macroeconomic influences on marketing and consumption
Macroeconomic factors can influence the conduct and performance of both government
and private sector market activities, which can in turn influence prices.
The most important macroeconomic factors for price analysis are the inflation rate, the
exchange rate, and the availability and access to foreign exchange. The
important since it influences price levels, and ultimately the purchasing power of
households. If inflation is high, households with the same amount of income will be able
to purchase fewer commodities, including food. The
influences the ability
of household income to purchase imported goods and the potential income to be earned
from exported goods. If the local currency compared to an important regional (e.g., the
South Africa rand) or international (e.g., US dollar) currency is gaining strength (e.g., a
move from Z$18 to Z$17) then imported goods become relatively cheaper. If the local
currency compared to an important regional or international currency is losing strength
(e.g., a move from Z$17 to Z$18) then imported goods become relatively more
expensive. Finally the availability of foreign exchange and traders ability to access it are
also important factors in monitoring prices and markets. When foreign exchange (a
traded currency like the US dollar) is either not available or not accessible the amount of
imports that can be procured from outside of a country is limited. In a time of shortfall
this could result in less cereals being imported than required to meet consumption
requirements. In this situation the price of the cereal, or the products made using this
cereal, would increase.
Appendix G provides suggestions on the types of macroeconomic policies that exist in a
particular country. An example of a completed worksheet is presented in Figure 3.6.