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Drought-induced inflation of cereal prices and the consequent turning of the terms of trade against livestock upset existing exchange entitlements and contributed to higher than normal mortality rates among the rural Beja populations in Red Sea Province in the early to mid-1980s. The Beja are agropastoralists who raise goats and sheep, and sow some sorghum. Their staples of consumption are goat milk and a prepared dish made with sorghum called asayda. They do not grow enough sorghum for household consumption, but they sell male goats in local markets in order to purchase sorghum. They also engage in a variety of minor activities to generate income for the purchase of sorghum. In this article, data from two markets on cereal and livestock prices for the years 1980 to 1989 are examined. The objectives of the study were to examine market performance, especially that associated with the drought and famine in the mid-1980s in Red Sea Province, and to examine how the inflationary period from 1988 to 1990 differed from or resembled the early to mid-1980s.

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