The study analyzed the price behavior of major staple foods in West Africa taking Nigeria as a case study (1966 – 2011). It described the trend of the major staple food prices and examined the linear relationship and interdependence of the major staple food prices in Nigeria. Secondary data were used for this study. The sources were; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). These data were transformed from their nominal value to real value and analyzed using descriptive statistics, unit root test, Pearson correlation coefficient, granger-causality test and structural equation model. The study revealed that the prices of most of the major staple foods were at the maximum value between 1991 and 1993 while their prices were at the minimum value between 1978 and 1983. The study observed that the price of cowpea is most volatile seconded by maize. The results of the unit root test showed that all the variables studied were stationary. The prices of the major staple foods were linearly correlated; some were positively correlated while some were negatively correlated. Granger-causality test on the major staple foods prices showed that the prices of most staple foods were unidirectional while only few were bi-directional. The study further revealed that the prices of staple foods were interdependent. The study recommends political stability in the country as the major staple food prices reached maximum level during the period of 1993 presidential election crisis.
Staple food, prices, behavior, maize, rice, yams, cowpea, sorghum and cassava.