The Effects of Market Reforms on Irish Potato Price Volatility in Nyandarua District, Kenya
In the early 1990’s, the Kenyan government implemented refor ms in the agricultural sector that affected the volatility of agricultural product prices. However, there is lack of empirical evidence on the effects of these reforms on the level and volatility of Irish potato prices. This study evaluates the effects of market reform policies involving the decontrol of input and output prices on the evolution and volatility of Irish potato prices in Nyandarua district. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of market reforms on Irish potato price variability. By using an Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity in Mean model, a monthly time series data set for the period 1986-2005 was utilized to identify the effects of the market reforms on the volatility of Irish potato prices. Results indicate that the implementation of market reform policies led to higher prices and reduction of price volatility. An increase in price level coupled with a decrease in price volatility after the implementation of market reform policies implies that with the reforms the Irish potato producers were better off than without the reforms. The high prices and low price volatility served as an incentive for the Irish potato farmers to boost production during the post reforms period. The study recommends development of storage and communication infrastructure, use of commodity exchange markets, improvement in productivity, and provision of an efficient market information system as necessary measures to enable the farmers to realize maximum benefits from the effects of the implementation of market reform policies.