Market and Trade Policy for Staple Foods in Eastern and Southern Africa
Edited by Alexander Sarris and Jamie Morrison
Joshua Ariga and T.S. Jayne1 INTRODUCTION 1 Maize marketing and trade policy in Kenya has been dominated by two major challenges. The first concerns the classic food price dilemma: how to keep farm prices high enough to provide production intensification incentives for farmers while at the same time keeping them low enough to ensure poor consumers’ access to food. The second major challenge has been how to effectively deal with food price instability, which is frequently identified as a major impediment to smallholder productivity growth and food security. Redressing these causes of low farm productivity and food insecurity are major challenges facing Kenyan policy makers. The question of how to reduce food price risks and raise smallholder farm productivity quickly brings us to the role of the state and the private sector in markets. There is widespread agreement that the state has a crucial role to play in developing strong output markets in Africa. However, there are major controversies as to what exactly these critical government roles are, and how they should be implemented. Maize is widely regarded as the ‘sleeping giant’ of Kenyan agriculture. Maize accounts for the single largest share of cultivated land in Kenya. It is commonly viewed that the maize sector has achieved lacklustre performance over the past two decades and has dragged down the country’s overall agricultural performance, which in other respects appears to be quite vibrant. This study is devoted to identifying the major constraints impeding the performance of the maize value chain, with...
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