African Smallholders: Food Crops, Markets and Policy by G. Durfeldt, Ernest Aryeetey, Aida Isinika

By G. Durfeldt, Ernest Aryeetey, Aida Isinika

In line with hugely topical foreign learn in a high-priority region, this booklet records the farm-level results of the reorientation of agricultural rules with various topics for the several international locations equivalent to micro-credit, infrastructure, funds crop creation and meals safety. It discusses staple foodstuff construction in sub-Saharan Africa and its reaction to altering geo-political, macro-economic and agricultural coverage, to deepen our knowing of ways agricultural improvement unfolds at farm point. it's a resource for all these discovering or concerned with nutrients defense, agricultural improvement and African nutrients making plans.

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To the contrary, there were many efforts, and some successes, to support food crop production, which, however, for various reasons, could not be sustained (Holmén, 2005). Most commonly, governments tried to substitute for missing rural markets by public interventions and the creation of state-led cooperatives and supplying subsidized inputs and monopolistic marketing of produce through parastatals and marketing boards. Systems of pan-territorial and pan-seasonal pricing were applied in order to provide predictability to producers unacquainted with production for a ‘market’.

In a global economy with highly unequal relations between parties, laissez-faire does not give the weaker party the advantages the theory claims – especially as rich countries do not practise what they preach. It is increasingly being realized, therefore, that – in the real world – ‘free trade is the protectionism of the powerful’ (Bové, 2003:xiii). Only a few developing countries have been able to benefit from agricultural high-value exports and ‘the many sub-Saharan nations that remain bound to the traditional export/cheap grain import model have fared the worst, as recurring famines and persistently high levels of undernourishment attest’ (Weis, 2007:126).

All these networks serve an important role in empowering national agricultural research institutes and adding value to their work. Today this is a much stronger support system for agricultural development than the case was some decades ago, when the link between the international and national research systems was much more brittle and the technology to sustain networks was much less developed. Cassava is an especially compelling case. It was long considered the crop of the downtrodden, but thanks to research spearheaded by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria it is fast becoming a food crop for the elite in Africa also.

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