inexpensive, other vegetables were 29 percent higher in cost during the lean season than in
the post-harvest season. Other reasons for reduced number of meals prepared in the home
during the lean season include:
(Becquey and Martin-Prevel, 2010).
Ouagadougou is not the only urban area to have documented the impact of food price sea-
sonality on food consumption. Hillbruner and Egan (2008) document the ways that the
weather and seasonal food prices affect household food security and children's nutritional
status in Bangladesh. They showed consistently higher rates of malnutrition and food insec-
urity during the monsoon or lean season than in the dry season (Hillbruner and Egan, 2008).
Changes in the rate of malnutrition outcomes in children were also seen in the Gambia
(Teokul et al ., 1986; Tompkins et al ., 1986) and in urban Mozambique (Garrett and Ruel,
1999). In Bamako, Mali, it was shown that because of seasonal variations in food prices, fam-
ilies switched from one food commodity group to another to preserve the energy balance of
the diet, to the detriment of the nutrient content of the meals (Camara, 2004). Many studies
have focused on these effects in rural areas, but they are also prevalent in urban areas although
not as pronounced (Lavy et al ., 1996). These studies cite food availability as well as the cost of
food as being one of the drivers of increased malnutrition and food insecurity during the
period, as well as increased disease and prevalence of disease vectors, and insanitary conditions
due to the rainfall.
This chapter focused on documenting food price seasonality, focusing on research conducted
in West Africa. Food price time series were presented and analysis provided that described
how food prices are seasonal, the likely causes of the seasonality and the impact of interannual
variability of growing conditions. A conceptual framework was presented that links price
dynamics to weather and international food price changes. Research that has focused on the
likely impact of food price variability on livelihoods and food security were described, along
with the likely impact of changes in price levels over longer periods.
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