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Africa Economic Brief - Volume 8 Issue 9 - Selling early to pay for school in Malawi


In markets across sub-Saharan Africa, the nominal prices of some crops increase by as much as 50-100% from their harvest-season trough to their peak in the lean season (Burke, 2014; Kaminski, Christiaensen and Gilbert, 2014). These price cycles are regular and partly predictable, so they offer farmers profitable opportunities for inter-temporal arbitrage. Those who can afford to wait to sell their crops until prices rise during the lean season enjoy returns that are often better than what savings groups or other financial mechanisms can provide.

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