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close this bookBriefs for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment - 2020 Vision : Brief 1 - 64 (IFPRI)
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View the document2020 BRIEF 1 - AUGUST 1994: ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
View the document2020 BRIEF 2 - AUGUST 1994: WORLD SUPPLY AND DEMAND PROJECTIONS FOR CEREALS, 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 3 - AUGUST 1994: WORLD PRODUCTION OF CEREALS, 1966-90
View the document2020 BRIEF 4 - AUGUST 1994: SUSTAINABLE FARMING: A POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
View the document2020 BRIEF 5 - OCTOBER 1994: WORLD POPULATION PROJECTIONS, 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 6 - OCTOBER 1994: MALNUTRITION AND FOOD INSECURITY PROJECTIONS, 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 7 - OCTOBER 1994: AGRICULTURAL GROWTH AS A KEY TO POVERTY ALLEVIATION
View the document2020 BRIEF 8 - OCTOBER 1994: CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
View the document2020 BRIEF 9 - FEBRUARY 1995: THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURE IN SAVING THE RAIN FOREST
View the document2020 BRIEF 10 - FEBRUARY 1995: A TIME OF PLENTY, A WORLD OF NEED: THE ROLE OF FOOD AID IN 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 11 - FEBRUARY 1995: MANAGING AGRICULTURAL INTENSIFICATION
View the document2020 BRIEF 12 - FEBRUARY 1995: TRADE LIBERALIZATION AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 13 - APRIL 1995: THE POTENTIAL OF TECHNOLOGY TO MEET WORLD FOOD NEEDS IN 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 14 - APRIL 1995: AN ECOREGIONAL PERSPECTIVE ON MALNUTRITION
View the document2020 BRIEF 15 - APRIL 1995: AGRICULTURAL GROWTH IS THE KEY TO POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN LOW-INCOME DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
View the document2020 BRIEF 16 - APRIL 1995: DECLINING ASSISTANCE TO DEVELOPING-COUNTRY AGRICULTURE: CHANGE OF PARADIGM?
View the document2020 BRIEF 17 - MAY 1995: GENERATING FOOD SECURITY IN THE YEAR 2020: WOMEN AS PRODUCERS, GATEKEEPERS, AND SHOCK ABSORBERS
View the document2020 BRIEF 18 - MAY 1995: BIOPHYSICAL LIMITS TO GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION
View the document2020 BRIEF 19 - MAY 1995: CAUSES OF HUNGER
View the document2020 BRIEF 20 - MAY 1995: CHINA AND THE FUTURE GLOBAL FOOD SITUATION
View the document2020 BRIEF 21 - JUNE 1995: DEALING WITH WATER SCARCITY IN THE NEXT CENTURY
View the document2020 BRIEF 22 - JUNE 1995: THE RIGHT TO FOOD: WIDELY ACKNOWLEDGED AND POORLY PROTECTED
View the document2020 BRIEF 23 - JUNE 1995: CEREALS PROSPECTS IN INDIA TO 2020: IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY
View the document2020 BRIEF 24 - JUNE 1995: REVAMPING AGRICULTURAL R&D
View the document2020 BRIEF 25 - AUGUST 1995: MORE THAN FOOD IS NEEDED TO ACHIEVE GOOD NUTRITION BY 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 26 - AUGUST 1995: PERSPECTIVES ON EUROPEAN AGRICULTURE IN 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 27 - AUGUST 1995: NONDEGRADING LAND USE STRATEGIES FOR TROPICAL HILLSIDES
View the document2020 BRIEF 28 - AUGUST 1995: EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS FOR FOOD SECURITY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
View the document2020 BRIEF 29 - AUGUST 1995: POVERTY, FOOD SECURITY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT
View the document2020 BRIEF 30 - JANUARY 1996: RISING FOOD PRICES AND FALLING GRAIN STOCKS: SHORT-RUN BLIPS OR NEW TRENDS?
View the document2020 BRIEF 31 - APRIL 1996: MIDDLE EAST WATER CONFLICTS AND DIRECTIONS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION
View the document2020 BRIEF 32 - APRIL 1996: THE TRANSITION IN THE CONTRIBUTION OF LIVING AQUATIC RESOURCES TO FOOD SECURITY
View the document2020 BRIEF 33 - JUNE 1996: MANAGING RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN SOUTH ASIA
View the document2020 BRIEF 34 - JUNE 1996: IMPLEMENTING THE URUGUAY ROUND: INCREASED FOOD PRICE STABILITY BY 2020?
View the document2020 BRIEF 35 - JULY 1996: SOCIOPOLITICAL EFFECTS OF NEW BIOTECHNOLOGIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
View the document2020 BRIEF 36 - OCTOBER 1996: RUSSIA'S FOOD ECONOMY IN TRANSITION: WHAT DO REFORMS MEAN FOR THE LONG-TERM OUTLOOK?
View the document2020 BRIEF 37 - OCTOBER 1996: UNCOMMON OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY - An Agenda for Science and Public Policy
View the document2020 BRIEF 38 - OCTOBER 1996: WORLD TRENDS IN FERTILIZER USE AND PROJECTIONS TO 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 39 - OCTOBER 1996: REDUCING POVERTY AND PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT: THE OVERLOOKED POTENTIAL OF LESS-FAVORED LANDS
View the document2020 BRIEF 40 - OCTOBER 1996: POLICIES TO PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE FERTILIZER USE AND SUPPLY TO 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 41 - DECEMBER 1996: STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN THE DEMAND FOR FOOD IN ASIA
View the document2020 BRIEF 42 - MARCH 1997: AFRICA'S CHANGING AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES
View the document2020 BRIEF 43 - JUNE 1997: THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF AIDS ON POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH RATES
View the document2020 BRIEF 44 - JUNE 1997: LAND DEGRADATION IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD: ISSUES AND POLICY OPTIONS FOR 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 45 - JUNE 1997: AGRICULTURE, TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN LATIN AMERICA: A 2020 PERSPECTIVE
View the document2020 BRIEF 46 - JUNE 1997: AGRICULTURE, TRADE, AND REGIONALISM IN SOUTH ASIA
View the document2020 BRIEF 47 - AUGUST 1997: THE NONFARM SECTOR AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: REVIEW OF ISSUES AND EVIDENCE
View the document2020 BRIEF 48 - FEBRUARY 1998: CHALLENGES TO THE 2020 VISION FOR LATIN AMERICA: FOOD AND AGRICULTURE SINCE 1970
View the document2020 BRIEF 49 - APRIL 1998: NUTRITION SECURITY IN URBAN AREAS OF LATIN AMERICA
View the document2020 BRIEF 50 - JUNE 1998: FOOD FROM PEACE: BREAKING THE LINKS BETWEEN CONFLICT AND HUNGER
View the document2020 BRIEF 51 - JULY 1998: TECHNOLOGICAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUSTAINING WHEAT PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH TOWARD 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 52 - SEPTEMBER 1998: PEST MANAGEMENT AND FOOD PRODUCTION: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
View the document2020 BRIEF 53 - OCTOBER 1998: POPULATION GROWTH AND POLICY OPTIONS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
View the document2020 BRIEF 54 - OCTOBER 1998: FOSTERING GLOBAL WELL-BEING: A NEW PARADIGM TO REVITALIZE AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
View the document2020 BRIEF 55 - OCTOBER 1998: THE POTENTIAL OF AGROECOLOGY TO COMBAT HUNGER IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
View the document2020 RESUMEN No. 56 - OCTUBRE DE 1998: AYUDA A LA AGRICULTURA EN LOS PAÍSES EN DESARROLLO: INVERSIONES EN LA REDUCCIÓN DE LA POBREZA Y NUEVAS OPORTUNIDADES DE EXPORTACIÓN
View the document2020 BRIEF 57 - OCTOBER 1998: ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ASIA: A FUTURE OF DIMINISHING GROWTH AND INCREASING POVERTY?
View the document2020 BRIEF 58 - FEBRUARY 1999: SOIL DEGRADATION: A THREAT TO DEVELOPING-COUNTRY FOOD SECURITY BY 20207
View the document2020 BRIEF 59 - MARCH 1999: AGRICULTURAL GROWTH, POVERTY ALLEVIATION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: HAVING IT ALL
View the document2020 BRIEF 60 - MAY 1999: CRITICAL CHOICES FOR CHINA'S AGRICULTURAL POLICY
View the document2020 BRIEF 61 - MAY 1999: LIVESTOCK TO 2020: THE NEXT FOOD REVOLUTION
View the document2020 BRIEF 62 - OCTOBER 1999: NUTRIENT DEPLETION IN THE AGRICULTURAL SOILS OF AFRICA
View the document2020 BRIEF 63 - NOVEMBER 1999: PROSPECTS FOR INDIA'S CEREAL SUPPLY AND DEMAND TO 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 64 - FEBRUARY 2000: OVERCOMING CHILD MALNUTRITION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: PAST ACHIEVEMENTS AND FUTURE CHOICES
View the document2020 BRIEF 65 - MARCH 2000: COMBINING INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL INPUTS FOR SUSTAINABLE INTENSIFICATION

2020 BRIEF 41 - DECEMBER 1996: STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN THE DEMAND FOR FOOD IN ASIA

by Jikun Huang and Howarth Bouis

Jikun Huang is a professor and director at the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Agricultural Economics, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Howarth Bouis is a research fellow in IFPRI's Food Consumption and Nutrition Division.

Many Asian countries are expected to undergo transformations in their economies and rapid urbanization over the next 25 years. The changes in tastes and lifestyles engendered by urban living are likely to have significant influences on food demand - influences perhaps as strong as the well-documented effects of household incomes and food prices. Changes in marketing systems and occupations, closely linked with increasing gross national product (GNP) per capita, also may influence the demand for food.

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF STRUCTURAL SHIFTS IN DIET

Direct per capita consumption of cereals as a staple food has declined over the past three decades in the rapidly growing economies of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, while consumption of meat, fish, and dairy products has increased dramatically. Typically, economists have explained such changes in Asian food consumption patterns primarily as resulting from increases in disposable income and changes in food prices.

There is no question that household income and food prices strongly affect food consumption. This is well substantiated in the economics literature. Nevertheless, in projecting food demand patterns over the long run, particularly in economies undergoing rapid structural transformation and urbanization, changes in tastes, lifestyles, occupations, and marketing systems may also strongly influence food demand. Because most previous demand studies have ignored these structural shifts, the effects of income on food demand have been overestimated.

Because structural shifts are strongly correlated with increasing GNP per capita, it is difficult to separate the two effects empirically in time-series estimations. Unfortunately, methodologies for measuring the effects of structural shifts are not as well developed as those for measuring income and price effects.

As populations move from rural to urban areas, structural shifts in food demand patterns may occur for a number of reasons:

· A wider choice of foods is available in urban markets.

· People are exposed to a variety of dietary patterns from foreign cultures.

· Urban lifestyles place a premium on foods that require less time to prepare.

· Transaction costs are lower. Urban residents typically do not grow their own food and do not face the potentially high-cost alternative of selling one food at the low farm-gate price to buy another food at a high retail price, a choice faced by semi-subsistence producers.

· Urban occupations are more sedentary than rural ones, requiring fewer calories to maintain body weight.


While changes in food demand patterns that cannot be attributed to increases in household incomes and changes in food prices may first be noticed in urban areas, as structural transformation proceeds to a more advanced level, these same shifts in food demand patterns eventually will occur in rural areas as well. At some point, market availability and lifestyles in urban and rural areas become virtually indistinguishable.

TAIWAN HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE SURVEYS

Average diets may change dramatically in countries experiencing rapid economic growth and structural transformation. Between 1959-61 and 1989-91, per capita rice consumption in Taiwan declined by one-half, meat consumption quadrupled, fruit consumption increased five times, and fish consumption doubled (Table 1). Consumers are substituting foods such as meat, fish, and fruit for staple foods such as rice, so that they now obtain a substantial share of their calories from nonstaple foods. To what extent are these changes in food consumption patterns explained by rising incomes and lower food prices, and to what extent by structural shifts in demand for food?

A comparison across like expenditure groups of food consumption in cities, towns, and villages in Taiwan in 1981 and 1991 indicates that rice consumption is lower in urban areas, while meat and fruit consumption is higher. These differences presumably are due to structural effects on demand after urban-rural price differentials are controlled.

For example, in cities in Taiwan in 1981, rice consumption was about the same for all expenditure quintiles, although slightly increasing (Figure 1). In villages in 1981, rice consumption for each quintile was higher than that in cities and increased with higher incomes. Despite this apparent positive relationship between incomes and rice consumption, and although income rose markedly in Taiwan between 1981 and 1991 and real prices did not change, average per capita rice consumption declined sharply between these years (Table 1). Figure 1 shows that rice consumption dropped substantially for each expenditure quintile in both cities and villages, indicating that structural shifts have occurred within cities and villages at the same time as rural to urban migration was occurring.

More rigorous regression analysis, not reported in detail here, indicates that within villages (this analysis does not take into account the effect of rural to urban migration), structural factors accounted for 73 percent of the decline in rice consumption between 1981 and 1991, and 82 percent of the increase in fish consumption, 65 percent in fruit consumption, and 17 percent in meat consumption.

Table 1 - Per capita annual food consumption, Taiwan, 1940-92

Period

Rice

Wheat

Sweet Potato

Meat

Fish

Fruit

(kilograms per capita per year)

1940-44

109

0

91

11

10

27

1949-51

133

7

66

13

12

16

1959-51

137

22

62

16

23

20

1969-71

136

25

24

25

33

43

1979-81

105

24

4

40

38

72

1989-91

68

29

2

62

45

108

1992

64

29

2

66

42

100

Source: Taiwan, Council for Agricultural Planning and Development, various years.

PROVINCIAL DATA FROM CHINA

Analysis of provincial data from China shows similar results: consumption of grain, edible oil, vegetables, and beverages and tobacco is higher in rural areas, after differences in income and food prices are controlled. Meat, fish, dairy, and fruit consumption is higher in urban areas.

A rough calculation indicates that a one-time increase in the urban population from one-quarter to two-thirds of the national population of China would result in a 10 percent increase in per capita demand for meat, fish, and dairy products as a result of current structural differences in food demand patterns between rural and urban areas. While 10 percent may not seem like a large increase (in addition to the effects of rising incomes and perhaps falling prices), as Figure 1 for Taiwan demonstrates, structural shifts in food demand are probably occurring within rural and urban populations as well. The total additional demand, taking these concurrent shifts into account, would be much larger than 10 percent.

POLICY IMPLICATIONS FOR 2020

Because urbanization is expected to proceed rapidly in a number of developing countries over the next several decades, projections of food demand need to take such structural changes into account. It is particularly important, from a global perspective, to understand these phenomena for countries with large populations such as China and India.

Existing income elasticity estimates from time-series data may be substantially biased for higher-income countries in Asia, such as Japan and Taiwan, because they measure both the effects of increased disposable income and structural shifts in demand for various foods. The crucial question for demand projections in these countries is at what point will these structural shifts slow down, and at what point will the upwardly biased estimates of income elasticities for meat, fish, and dairy products begin to overestimate future demand, while the downwardly biased estimates for rice begin to underestimate future demand?

Perhaps more important, in lower-income countries such as India and Indonesia, where meat consumption is presently quite low and structural transformation is in an early stage, time-series data for meat consumption will not reflect a possible impending upward structural shift in demand. Thus existing income elasticities will underestimate the demand for animal products if these structural changes in food demand do indeed materialize.

Relatively little is known about the specific reasons for these structural shifts. When, in the process of economy-wide structural adjustment, will they begin, accelerate, slow down, and perhaps stop? There is a need for further research to understand these underlying factors in order to assess accurately the future global demand for food. Such information in turn helps to guide long-term investments in production among various foods.


Figure 1 - Per capita annual rice consumption by expenditure group, cities and villages, Taiwan, 1981 and 1991

Source: Taiwan household expenditure surveys, 1981 and 1991. Note: Boundaries for defining expenditure groups are kept constant in real terms between 1981 and 1991. Real rice prices remained constant between 1981 and 1991.