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Handa, Sudhanshu & Mlay, Gilead (2006). Food Consumption Patterns, Seasonality and Market Access in Mozambique. Development Southern Africa, 23(4), 541-560.


Seasonal fluctuations in food consumption are a serious problem in rural Mozambique, where community isolation is high, and market integration, use of improved inputs, and access to off-farm income are low. This article uses household survey data to trace seasonal fluctuations in food consumption patterns and to analyse the ways households maintain access to calories. Significant substitution is observed between maize and cassava, and beans and green vegetables, over the production cycle. An analysis of the total expenditure elasticity of food groups reveals how precarious food security is in rural households in the poorest quintile. These households show near unitary expenditure elasticity for even the most basic staples of maize and cassava. The potential role of public policy in diminishing seasonal fluctuation in food consumption is explored using distance to road as an indicator of market access. The results show that distance to the nearest road has a significant effect on household food consumption patterns.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Development Southern Africa


Handa, Sudhanshu
Mlay, Gilead