The extreme volatility of Indonesian chili prices has been a focus of government and public concern. This paper examines whether monthly chili prices over a 10-year period (2000 to 2009) for five cities on Java Island can be estimated with sufficient accuracy to make it economically feasible to build a short term storage activity into the chili marketing system. The findings show that in all locations prices respond to the previous month's price or relative prices. For Jakarta and Bandung, prices also respond to chili production levels in other key production areas, as well as seasonal fluctuations for Ramadan and October. Results also show that traders implementing a one-month cold storage strategy using forecasted prices could generate annual returns of 25 per cent over the cost of storage. The authors conclude that if the use of cold storage was more widespread, they would expect to see less volatile price movements in the fresh chili market. This would lead to lower risk premiums for traders and other middlemen and ultimately narrower farm-retail price spreads and a more efficient market for chilies. However, further research is needed to explore why cold storage is not being used more widely.

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