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Abstract

This paper estimates price and food expenditure elasticities of demand for twelve food groups in Tanzania by applying the linearized Almost Ideal Demand system to the latest household survey data. In estimation, particular attention is paid to the presence of zero expenditure and the effects of demographic characteristics on food demand patterns. The results indicate that maize, rice, other cereals, pulses, sugar, edible oils, fish, starch, fruits and vegetables, meat, and other foods are price inelastic while milk and dairy products have unitary elasticity of demand. Most of the food groups are income elastic. The results also reveal that household income and family size have significant effects on food demand patterns. Main policy implications of the results include inter alia (a) income oriented policies will have a greater effect on promoting food consumption than price related policies, (2) a significant price decline associated with increased production of maize and rice will benefit a majority of households since the two commodities have high budget shares and low own-price elasticities of demand, and (3) meat was found to be inelastic with respect to the expenditure on food.

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