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In this paper, we investigate how the activation of local food markets impacts the nutritional
status of both children and adults, in a context characterized by large seasonal 
uctuations in
the price and availability of foodgrain. Taking advantage of the random scaling-up of a program
of Food Security Granaries (FSGs) in Burkina Faso, we make three contributions. First, espe-
cially in remote areas where local markets are thin, food market activation considerably dampens
nutritional stress. The e ect is strongest among children, and young children in particular, for
whom de cient nutrition has devastating long-term consequences. Second, and surprisingly, this
bene cial e ect is obtained despite the fact that total food consumption does not increase as a
result of the external intervention. Third, it is a change in the timing of food purchase, translated
into a change in the timing of consumption, that drives the nutritional improvement. A simple
two-period model shows that an increase in consumption needs not take place when the price of
foodgrain declines during the lean season if storage losses are taken into account. More than from
the waste of the foodgrain stored, storage costs mainly arise from a self-control problem: foodgrain
purchased anticipatorily results in immediate consumption and body mass accumulation, which is
less efficient than nutrition-smoothing consumption