During the 1990s, SSA countries initiated agricultural policy
reforms to increase producer incentives and increase growth. Yet,
agricultural growth rates after the reforms have been uneven. This has
been attributed to lack of supporting infrastructure or the inability
to respond to incentives by the smallholders.
Based on ten studies, this volume provides a different framework to
interpret the outcomes. First, it attributes the success of the reforms
to the degree of consensus around the reform programs, which in turn,
creates the institutions that can accommodate unexpected shocks. It
differentiates between short run growth accelerations and sustained
growth episodes. Second, it analyzes the impact of international prices
which increased during the early 1990 and collapsed around 2000.
Finally, it links the support institutions that evolved after the
reforms back to the political economy of the stakeholders and their
Aksoy and Anil develop a political economy framework by bringing
together the issues of consensus over the distribution of rents, role
of unexpected changes, and the capabilities of institutions in handling
these changes. Onal tests the of supply responses while Onal and Aksoy
analyze international commodity prices and their transmission to the
producers. Baffes analyzes impact of the adoption of cotton
biotechnology in India and China, and the failure of SSA to also adopt.
Baffes and Onal undertake a comparative study of coffee sectors in
Uganda, and Vietnam which faced similar shocks. Five case studies cover
cashew in Mozambique (Aksoy and Yagci), coffee and tea in Kenya
(Mitchell), cashew in Tanzania (Mitchell and Baregu), tobacco in
Tanzania (Mitchell and Baregu), and cotton in Zambia (Yagci and
Results show that Agricultural policy reforms generated an immediate
positive supply response. Real producer prices increased along with
output. In unsuccessful cases where the short run supply response
petered out, political and social consensus on the reforms was weak,
and the ability to redistribute income after a negative shock was not
built into the new arrangements. These products had been a major
instrument for rent distribution before the reforms. The agencies could
not be reformed to give greater non price support. In successful cases,
there was greater consensus on the reforms program. The product was not
a major rent distribution instrument and the producers were allied with
the governments. Lower conflict also led to greater non price support.
There was enough political and economic space for the parties to find
solutions in case of shocks.
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