Market and Trade Policy for Staple Foods in Eastern and Southern Africa
Edited by Alexander Sarris and Jamie Morrison
Chapter 6: Grain Marketing Policy at the Crossroads: Challenges for Eastern and Southern Africa
6. Grain marketing policy at the crossroads: challenges for Eastern and Southern Africa T.S. Jayne, Antony Chapoto and Jones Govereh1 1 INTRODUCTION Broad-based agricultural productivity growth is understood to be a precondition for sustainable poverty reduction and improved living standards in most of Sub-Saharan Africa. On the surface, the challenge of raising farm productivity could appear to be difficult but relatively straightforward: use the power of crop science to generate improved farm technologies, put them into small farmers’ hands, and provide them with the knowledge to get the most out of these technologies. Over the past decades, several highly committed and well-funded efforts to kick-start ‘green revolutions’ in Africa have been thwarted by their inability to anticipate and address downstream issues of marketing and governance. For example, the Sasakawa/Global-2000 programmes have demonstrated that it is possible to give improved seed and fertilizer to farmers and provide them with management advice, and that this can temporarily generate impressive yield gains by small farmers. But once the programme is withdrawn, the hard questions arise: how will farmers continue to acquire the improved seed and fertilizer? Who will supply these critical inputs to them? Who will supply the credit to enable the poorest households to afford these inputs? Who will buy the crop at a decent price, especially if aggregate supply expansion depresses prices in the market? Who will be responsible for system-wide coordination of the food value chains, to ensure that the important public and private investments are made to effectively link...
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