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Agriculture

Agriculture (45)

Land reform is probably one of the most difficult domestic policy issues to be dealt with by Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Australia. In each of these countries the process of land reform is incomplete. Zimbabwe, on one side of the spectrum, is facing a crisis in democratization due to its radical approach to land reform. On the other side of the spectrum is Australia which, as a stable and respected democracy, has difficulty explaining why the land needs of sucha small minority of its people cannot be dealt with more effectively. In between there is Namibia, where the winds of change and the pressure to ‘radicalise’land reform are increasing. And then there is South Africa where systems and policies to deal with land reform are probably the most advanced from a legal perspective, but where the resources, patience and other practical issues to execute reform effectively are becoming serious hurdles in implementing policies.

 

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In April 2008, Washington identified Pakistan as a “Global Food Initiative” priority country needing assistance in addressing its food security situation. It is expected that such assistance will play an important role in enhancing stability in Pakistan and within the region. In the following months, USAID/Pakistan initiated an effort to design a food and agriculture project in response to this initiative. An initial concept paper was prepared as a first step in the project design effort. The present paper expands that initial step into a more detailed project description. Pakistan is characterized by a high degree of income inequality and geographic disparities, two major sources of potential destabilization. Those divisions are particularly pronounced in the rural areas, where most of the rural poor lack access to land, irrigation water and other factors of production. Reducing poverty and income inequality will require revitalization of the rural economy.

 

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Contract farming is one solution to overcome market related transaction costs. When transaction costs are small or absent, market transactions are usually efficient and improve aggregate welfare. However, when transaction costs are high, or markets fail owing to reasons like asymmetric information, a number of voluntary but non-spot transactions are often carried out between economic agents. There are many ways that markets fail in Indian agriculture. Imperfect credit markets, lump sum transportation costs for small amounts of produce, imperfect information about market prices, lack of technological knowledge, inability of small and marginal farmers to absorb the risks of loss, etc. are only a few of them. In this paper we look at specific cases to see how some of these problems have been solved through agreements among farmers and between farmers and integrators.

 

 

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During the past couple of decades the integration of poor countries in global agricultural markets accelerated with increased food exports originating from developing countries. At the same time, there have been important structural changes in global agrifood markets. The structure of world food trade, and especially of developing countries’ exports, has changed dramatically with traditional tropical export products (such as coffee, cocoa, and tea) loosing importance and non-traditional high-value commodities (such as horticulture and seafood products) gaining importance. In addition, food trade is increasingly consolidated with large multinational food companies (such as retail chains and processing companies) increasingly dominating global agri-food chains. Moreover, food standards (including for example food quality and safety standards) have been increasing very sharply and global agri-food trade is increasingly regulated through public as well as private standards.

 

 

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TR A C T O R I Z A T I O N o f agriculture i n low-wage countries has been the center of one of the most virulent and emotional choice-of-techniques debate for the past 20 years. It is there-fore not surprising that, apart f r o m spawning large quantities of theoretical-conceptual literature and a massive a m o u n t of partisan writing , it has also led to a very substantial amount of careful empiric al w o r k at the micro- and macro levels. In particular, there are now available a large n u m b e r of farm-level tractor surveys from mpractically every agroclimatic zone in the I n d i a n subcontinent. How ever, many of these surveys are not easily accessible (masters andPh.D. theses) or not easily comparable. T h e main effort of this paperis to assemble the studies and present their findings in a way whichmakes t h e m comparable across agroclimatic zones. Whatever meritthis s u m m a r y may have thus goes in large part to the patient (andsometimes u n r e w a r d i n g ) effort of the many researchers w h o assembled the basic facts initially. Of course, they cannot be held responsible for mistakes or misinterpretations w h i c h m i g h t have occurred inthe summarization process.

 

 

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One of the important economic arguments in favor of the equitable distribution of farmland is that smaller farms are more productive. A large portion of the economic development literature is devoted to this topic, with arguments going both for and against the notion that smaller farms are more productive. This essay, on the relationship between farm size and productivity, builds on the study J. Mohan Rao and I completed for the UNDP and Ministerio de Hacienda del Paraguay (Masterson and Rao 1999). This essay departs from the earlier work, using more recent data, allowing for comparison between two time periods, and by employing both stochastic and nonparametric techniques for generating technical efficiency measurements, an alternative to the factor productivity measures used in the original study.

 

 

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The objective of this report is to demonstrate the ex tent of link ages be between farm and nonfarm sectors and between non tradable and tradable goods sectors inSub- Saharan Africa and to illustrate how these link ages can shape and accelerate rural economic growth. The farm sector is de fined here to include all unprocessed agricultural goods, such as raw crops and live stock. Eve ry thing else, including processed farm items, is counted in the nonfarm sector. The term “non tradable” is used for goodsthat at prevailing relative prices are rarely, if ever, traded across the borders of the chosen zone of analysis. Nontradables also must not have close tradable substitutes thatare available locally. This implies that the domestic price of the non traded good is not likely to be well correlated with the domestic price of any tradable good that could play the same role in the con sump ion basket. By convention, services are always nontradables, since the service is completely per formed locally, and it can neither be imported nor ex ported. Perish able foods are often non tradable because of the risk of loss in transit. Tradables, on the other hand, can in the oryal ways be imported or exported data constant price de termined by a reference market outside the region in question.

 

 

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Agriculture is the jugular vein of the economy of Pakistan. It has experienced robust economic growth since the dawn of Green Revolution. Generally periods of flourishing agriculture have been associated with prompt overall economic performance and visa-versa (World Bank, 1992). The average annual economic growth rate of about 4% during the last few decades has been above the mean population growth rate (GOP, 2002). Agriculture growth has made significant contribution to the overall economic growth during this period. The sustainable rate of growth in agriculture sector owes a great extent to technological progress along with public investment in irrigation, agriculture research and extension. Some statistics reveal that the real benefit of such a growth could not be translated to the poor particularly in 1990s. The failure of agriculture growth in trickling down the poor is generally visualized in the background of income inequality during the same growth period.

 

 

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Although the generalization has many important caveats, across the world the most efficient and productive agriculture is situated in countries in which farms are family-owned,large-scale and mechanized. However, comparisons of farming productivity across countries cannot easily identify the essential barriers to augmenting farming productivity, as countries differ in their property rights regimes, financial systems, labor markets, agroclimatic conditionsand other institutional and environmental features. A vast literature has highlighted, usually one at a time, various market imperfections as constraining agricultural productivity in poor countries. These include, for example, credit market barriers, lack of insurance, problems of worker effort, and labor market transaction costs. However, many of these market problems are not confined to poor countries. Moral hazard and adverse selection afflict credit markets in all settings, and farmers do not have unlimited access to capital anywhere in the world. Nor dofamily farms in many developed countries use employment schemes that differ importantly from those used in those low -income settings where family farms also dominate. And most farmers inhigh-income countries do not participate in formal crop, income or weather insurance markets. It is thus unlikely that labor market problems or lack of insurance or even credit constraints, can alone account for the large differences in the productivity of farms across many developed and developing countries.

 

 

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