How Responsive to Prices is the Supply of Milk in Malawi?

Abstract

Invited paper presented at the 4th International Conference of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, September 22-25, 2013, Hammamet, Tunisia.

Dairy is a key investment sector for the Government of Malawi. Advocacy institutions operating in the country have successfully lobbied for increasing the duty applied for powder milk, with the aim of improving the price received by farmers. It should be noted that whilst an increase of the price paid to farmers would rise their revenues (assuming the same amount of milk delivery), it might also bring additional blessings, in the sense that if farmers respond to prices, they may rise their revenues beyond the increase in prices, and furthermore, they would expand their delivery of milk to processors offsetting the imports of powder milk and reducing their idle capacity in factories. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to measure the responsiveness of the deliveries of milk at the milk bulking groups to prices paid to farmers (i.e., the elasticity of supply faced by processors). This is done using a unique dataset that comprises information by milk bulking group from January 2009 to February 2013. The results indicate that the supply of milk is price responsive. The price elasticity in the short term is equal to 0.6 and in the long term is 1.44. This indicates that farmers’ revenues not only benefit from an increase in the price of milk but also from the increase in the quantity produced. Furthermore, it indicates the possibility that domestic producers could offset imports of milk powder by processors, although answer to this requires further research.

Citation

Revoredo-Giha, C.; Arakelyan, I.; Chalmers, N.; Chitika, R. How Responsive to Prices is the Supply of Milk in Malawi? Presented at the 4th International Conference of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, September 22-25, 2013, Hammamet, Tunisia. (2013) 21 pp.

How Responsive to Prices is the Supply of Milk in Malawi?

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