Preferences and crop choice during Zimbabwe’s macroeconomic crisis

Anna Josephson & Jacob Ricker-Gilbert

Smallholder farmers face considerable risk and uncertainty, particularly when markets are incomplete or missing. We consider household crop diversity and crop choice in Zimbabwe, where output markets are largely absent and price signals are inaccurate. In this setting, considering preferences and tastes provides a deeper understanding of how households ensure food security in environments without robust markets. We use data that straddles the period of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe and the collapse of the country’s currency to study household cropping behaviour in a time of extreme stress. This allows us to better understand the relationship between market failure and crop choice in Sub-Saharan Africa.