Demand Analysis for Cassava in Rural and Urban Areas: Is it an Inferior or Normal Food?

Basil Msuha, Tiberio Mdendemi


This study examined the major factors that drive changes in cassava consumption pattern across income groups and consumer characteristics among urban and rural households to inform food policy formulation. The study, among other things, sought to provide evidence on whether or not cassava had become a normal food commodity in selected urban and rural households. Cross sectional data from 200 households were used to estimate single equation demand model through OLS method. Cassava expenditure elasticity was estimated for selected urban and rural areas across different income groups to test Engel’s law. Descriptive analysis was used to identify the most preferred form of cassava product among consumers. The study was underpinned by the theory of consumer behaviour and demand. The findings indicated that boiled cassava is the most preferred product in the study areas. Preferences to cassava products are independent of their income levels. Whether low, middle or high income, almost all households bought a particular cassava product based mainly on their own assessment of the taste. The determinants of cassava expenditure in all consumer locations included age of household head, gender, household size, educational level and household income. Fresh cassava expenditure elasticity in urban and rural areas was positive, though inelastic (0 < η <1), suggesting that cassava is a normal food commodity, it is a necessity good for life. The results provide convincing evidence that demand for cassava will continue to rise as income increases.  Thus, it is short sighted to consider cassava solely a subsistence crop and inferior food.

Key words: cassava, consumption pattern, inferior food, normal food, demand model, income elasticity

DOI: 10.7176/JESD/10-4-17

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