Market and Trade Policy for Staple Foods in Eastern and Southern Africa
Edited by Alexander Sarris and Jamie Morrison
Chapter 13: Assessment of Alternative Maize Trade and Market Policy Interventions in Zambia
13. Assessment of alternative maize trade and market policy interventions in Zambia Jones Govereh, Antony Chapoto and T.S. Jayne1 1 INTRODUCTION In the 1970s and 1980s, it appeared that much of Eastern and Southern Africa was on the verge of a green revolution. During this time, statecontrolled marketing systems integrated input credit, input delivery and output marketing. Smallholder farmers were rapidly increasing their use of hybrid maize seed and fertilizer. Maize yields were rising impressively in countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya and Malawi. Most of these countries were largely food self-sufficient, and some were producing reliable exports to feed the region. However, these promising maize production trends were short-lived. Structural adjustment and market liberalization policies coincided with a gradual erosion of maize surpluses and self-sufficiency in most of these countries during the 1990s. The withdrawal of state-led credit and input subsidies and marketing board operations led to a decline in maize area and yields, at least in the relatively remote areas where a large proportion of smallholder farmers resided. Maize production has largely stagnated in all of these countries since the early 1990s. This might give the impression that smallholder agriculture and livelihoods have stagnated over the past 15 years during this era of market liberalization. However, as argued in later sections of this chapter, the story is considerably more complex and nuanced. In many ways, market and trade reform, to the extent that it was implemented, has benefited smallholder farmers and urban consumers in important respects, despite other...
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