To read this content please select one of the options below:

Food expenditure patterns, preferences, policy, and access of Rwandan households

Dave D. Weatherspoon (Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Marie Steele-Adjognon (Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Fidèle Niyitanga (Rural Development and Agricultural Economics, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda)
Jean Paul Dushimumuremyi (VAM, WFP-Rwanda Country Office, Kigali, Rwanda)
Anwar Naseem (Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)
James Oehmke (United States Agency for International Development, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




An extended period of economic growth along with stubborn childhood stunting and wasting levels raises questions about how consumer food purchasing behaviors respond to income increases in Rwanda. The purpose of this paper is to assess the role income, prices, policy, agricultural production, and market access play on how rural households purchase different food groups.


Six separate log-normal double hurdle models are run on six different food groups to examine what affects the probability a household purchases in each food group and for those who do purchase, what determines the quantity purchased.


Rural Rwandans are price and expenditure responsive but prices have more impact on food group purchases. Crop production resulted in reduced household market procurement for its associated food group but had mixed effects on the purchases of all other food groups. Rural Rwandans purchase and consume low amounts of animal-based proteins which may be a leading factor related to the high stunting and wasting rates. Owning an animal increased the purchased quantity of meat but lowered the purchased quantity of most other food groups.

Practical implications

Results suggest that policies and programs have to address multiple constraints simultaneously to increase the purchases of the limited food groups in the rural household diets that may be contributing to the high rates of stunting and wasting.


This study is the first to evaluate the interplay among prices, household income, household production, policies and donor programs, and demographic variables on rural Rwandan household food purchases.



The views presented in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the United States Agency for International Development. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of USDA/USAID (No. TA-CA-15-008) through the Rutgers Consortium for Policy Impact Analysis.


Weatherspoon, D.D., Steele-Adjognon, M., Niyitanga, F., Dushimumuremyi, J.P., Naseem, A. and Oehmke, J. (2017), "Food expenditure patterns, preferences, policy, and access of Rwandan households", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 6, pp. 1202-1215.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles