Hoarding is any deliberate withholding of agricultural supply by farmers, merchants, commodity pool managers, or government authorities, with the objective of achieving higher prices at a later time. The act of hoarding is therefore characterized as being opportunistic and speculative, with the hope of windfall gains, but it frequently results in financial losses. There is more market power for the hoarder when shortages exist, but little power when there are surpluses. Hoarding success is impossible for perishable food products because price falls with

quality deterioration. This restricts hoarding to those products that can be readily stored, and there has to be the perception that prices can be allowed to rise. However, hoarding can occur whenever price controls exist in an attempt to force authorities to raise prices. The choice of hoarding exists with various selling and buying methods. Merchants can

buy commodity for hoarding instead of accumulating product for ‘trade’ market usage. Farmers might hoard after harvest instead of immediate sales. However, all farm storage is not hoarding, particularly when farmers store product on behalf of either a merchant or end user. Governments can store inventory for the institutional catering trade, or hoard commodity either in unofficial storages or in formalized legislated ‘buffer’ stocks. The objective of most commodity pool managers and authorities is to hoard and eventually sell into spot markets, but there can be some forward selling. The success of hoarding storable commodities depends on the elasticity of demand

when shortages occur. This indicates the response of buyers to either price movement or the supply made available, but much depends on the freedom of price movement and the response time of supply.1 If demand is inelastic with no close product substitutes and new supply is slow to respond when shortages occur, the ability to withhold enough supply of a storable commodity may cause prices to rise, which results in a higher probability of hoarding success. Alternatively, if demand is elastic with close product substitutes and supply can respond to change quickly, then there is a high

probability of hoarding failure regardless of the amount withheld. Wheat has less probability of hoarding success because global harvesting supply extends for 11 months of the year, resulting in quick hoarding supply release response times.