millet and white sorghum in 1990 in Abeche did not peak, as usual, in May or June, but
continued to rise until the harvest. The continual rise in prices might have signaled either
trader uncertainty of the quality towards the upcoming harvest or that traders perceived that
the harvest would be below average. There was a normal drop in prices after the harvest
was completed, but the magnitude of the drop was small for both commodities. This
reinforces the interpretation made during the season, when the normal peak in prices was not
observed, that the agricultural season would probably be below average. This pattern was
again observed in 1996/97.
Another interesting aspect of the prices in the Abeche market is the impact across years of
both millet and white sorghum prices. In 1991, 1994 and 1997 prices of both products
peaked at about the normal time (April), but the level of prices at the peak was much higher
than anytime in other years. This appears to reflect the residual impact of the previous
season s poor harvest.
Finally, it is interesting to note the relationship of prices between millet and white sorghum.
The behavior of prices moved in concert for most of the period under analysis, with the
price of white sorghum being consistently 5 to 20 FCFA per kilogram below that of millet.
This price gap between millet and white sorghum increased in the first half of 1997.
22.214.171.124 Step 3: Characterizing price relationships for a single commodity across
The knowledge that will come out of this analysis is an understanding of price behavior for a
single commodity across many markets under different conditions. These conditions include
different types of harvests (good, poor, and average), changes in consumption and marketing
patterns, and policy and macroeconomic shocks. In addition, this analysis will assist in
understanding the relationship across different markets for a single commodity. For
example, this analysis will provide indications if prices in different markets are correlated.
An example of the output from this analytical step illustrates the historical behavior of maize
prices in in the Lusaka, Chipata, and Mongu markets in Zambia over the period of 1990 to
1997 (Figure 5.4).