Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries

Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries: Domestic Policies for Markets, Production, and Environment

Per Pinstrup-Andersen
Fuzhi Cheng
Søren E. Frandsen
Arie Kuyvenhoven
Joachim von Braun
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Case Studies in Food Policy for Developing Countries
    Book Description:

    The food problems now facing the world-scarcity and starvation, contamination and illness, overabundance and obesity-are both diverse and complex. What are their causes? How severe are they? Why do they persist? What are the solutions?

    In three volumes that serve as valuable teaching tools and have been designed to complement the textbook Food Policy for Developing Countries by Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Derrill D. Watson II, they call upon the wisdom of disciplines including economics, nutrition, sociology, anthropology, environmental science, medicine, and geography to create a holistic picture of the state of the world's food systems today.

    Volume II of the Case Studies addresses the issues of domestic policies for markets, production, and the environment.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6637-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction and Overview
    (pp. 1-4)

    Food systems are complex, and public sector action is critical to guide them toward the fulfillment of societal goals. Insufficient understanding of how food systems work, however, and failure to understand the effects of potential and actual government action are major reasons why food systems operate at suboptimal levels. Nowhere are the consequences of a poorly functioning food system more severe than in developing countries, where every fourth preschool child is malnourished and more than 800 million people suffer from food insecurity. At the same time, chronic diseases caused by being overweight or obese are becoming a major public health...

  5. Part One Domestic Market Policies

    • Introduction
      (pp. 5-6)

      The cases in this section illustrate the role of food markets and food marketing in the economy and discuss the links between farmers and markets. These cases discuss policies needed to help integrate small farmers into the market economy, with an emphasis on the facilitation of contract farming, collective bargaining, farmer associations, food price stabilization, and the successful development of high-value agriculture on small farms. The increasing concentration in food retail and wholesale and the role of government are discussed, along with the importance of infrastructure to promote market-based poverty reduction....

    • Chapter One Concentration in Agribusiness and Marketing: A Case Study of Arla Foods (6-1)
      (pp. 7-22)
      Derek Baker and Kimmie Graber-Lützhøft

      The modern food industry is characterized by fewer and fewer firms and the emergence of some powerful international and global players. This case study of Arla Foods details that firm’s development from its origins in local dairy cooperatives to its current position as a multinational food conglomerate. Its development has attracted scrutiny from competition authorities for a variety of reasons, and it raises questions about the role of farmer cooperatives locally, nationally, and internationally.

      Some technical terms are examined in support of the case study: consolidation, concentration, and market power are often used interchangeably, but from an economic and policy...

    • Chapter Two A Revolution in the Making: The Case of Agro-Food Retailing in India (6-2)
      (pp. 23-36)
      Sudha Narayanan

      Recent discussions of global agro-food systems have turned the spotlight on food retailing. Observers concur that globalization has been accompanied by, and may have aided, retail concentration in agro-food markets. This transformation, especially in developing countries, has been nothing short of a revolution.

      Until now, India has been conspicuous as an exception to the rule. Only around 2 percent of all retail trade in India is in the organized sector. The food retail sector is likely even more fragmented and continues to be a complex mosaic of diverse smallscale actors, including itinerant vendors, government outlets, cooperative markets, and small-scale corner...

    • Chapter Three Contract Farming in Developing Countries: Patterns, Impact, and Policy Implications (6-3)
      (pp. 37-50)
      Nicholas Minot

      Contract farming may be defined as agricultural production carried out according to a prior agreement in which the farmer commits to producing a given product in a given manner and the buyer commits to purchasing it. Often, the buyer provides the farmer with technical assistance, seeds, fertilizer, and other inputs on credit and offers a guaranteed price for the output. Proponents of contract farming argue that it links small-scale farmers to lucrative markets and solves a number of problems small-scale farmers face in diversifying into high-value commodities. Opponents argue that the imbalance in power between the buyer (often a large...

    • Chapter Four Smallholder Farmers’ Access to Markets for High-Value Agricultural Commodities in India (6-4)
      (pp. 51-60)
      P. S. Birthal and P. K. Joshi

      Sustained economic and income growth, a fast-growing urban population, and the increasing integration of global agri-food markets are fueling rapid growth in demand for high-value food commodities in India. This is an opportunity for farmers, especially smallholder farmers, in India to augment their incomes and use surplus family labor in the production of high-value, labor-intensive food commodities. The transition to high-value agriculture, however, is unlikely to be smooth. One of the major impediments is smallholders’ lack of access to markets for high-value commodities. Local rural markets are thin, and trading in distant urban markets is not remunerative owing to high...

    • Chapter Five Small-Farm Access to High-Value Horticultural Markets in Kenya (6-5)
      (pp. 61-72)
      Joseph Dever

      The goals of poverty alleviation and rural agricultural development have long been elusive among poor Sub-Saharan Africa countries. Rural areas still lag behind urban ones in economic growth, and formerly lucrative export cash crops such as coffee and tea are no longer as profitable to the average small farm. Rural population growth and environmental degradation have made the challenge of developing the agricultural sector even more difficult.

      It is in the context of these challenges that many have championed the expansion of the export horticultural sector to provide a significant boost to the rural economy and permit the participation of...

    • Chapter Six Contract Farming in Costa Rica: A Case Study on Contracts in Pepper Farming (6-6)
      (pp. 73-84)
      Fernando Sáenz-Segura, Marijke D’Haese and Ruerd Ruben

      Contract farming is defined as an agreement, which may range from a simple verbal commitment to a written document, between a farmer and a firm, in which the farmer agrees to deliver fresh or partially processed products, and the firm commits itself to purchasing the produce under certain agreed price and non-price conditions. Contract farming is usually considered a substitute for poorly functioning or absent markets. The literature on contract farming presents two opposite views of the potential of this alternative market institution as a bridge for trading between smallholders and agroprocessing firms. Some researchers argue that contracts are an...

    • Chapter Seven Enhancing Smallholder Farmers’ Market Competitiveness in Tanzania (6-7)
      (pp. 85-94)
      Ibrahim H. Kawa and Loyce M. Kaitira

      Tanzanian agriculture is dominated by small-scale subsistence farming. Like the entire economy, agriculture is in a transition from being a command to a market-based production system. The transition process started in the mid-1980s as part of the economic adjustment and structural reform programs and policies supported by Tanzania’s development partners. Despite some impressive macroeconomic achievements resulting from the reform programs, agricultural growth and rural poverty reduction continue to present daunting challenges. Few smallholder producers understand how markets work, and even if they do, they do not have the information they need to participate effectively.

      In response to these development issues,...

    • Chapter Eight Food Price Stabilization Policies in a Globalizing World (6-8)
      (pp. 95-108)
      Shahidur Rashid

      This case examines various aspects of food price instability. It focuses on (1) the sources of price instability, (2) various policy options and the conditions under which they are viable, and (3) experiences with both market-based and nonmarket-based policy responses to price instability. All sources of price instability—such as inadequate infrastructure, asymmetric information, and incomplete or missing institutions—qualify as market failure. One could therefore argue that an appropriate policy response would be to invest in the critical determinants of well-functioning markets and create enabling market conditions, which in turn improve price stability. But the proponents of direct government...

    • Chapter Nine Rural Road Investments, Agricultural Development, and Poverty Alleviation in China (6-9)
      (pp. 109-118)
      Satoru Shimokawa

      Beginning in late 1978, China adopted a series of policy and institutional reforms and achieved rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. National gross domestic product (GDP) grew at more than 9 percent a year from 1978 to 2005, and per capita income increased by 8 percent a year. The level and speed of economic growth and poverty reduction are diverse across regions, however, and income inequality has worsened between the coastal and inland regions, as well as between urban and rural areas. Although a number of factors have contributed to this widening regional disparity in China, differences in the stock...

    • Chapter Ten The Growing Trend of Farmers’ Markets in the United States (6-10)
      (pp. 119-132)
      Erica Phillips

      Farmers’ markets have surged in popularity in the United States during the past 30 years. Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began collecting information on farmers’ markets in 1994, the number of markets increased from 1,755 to more than 4,385 in 2006 (USDA AMS 2007b). It is estimated that more than 3 million consumers shop at these markets, and about 30,000 small farmers and food entrepreneurs earn a partial or full living selling their local products at farmers’ markets (PPS 2006).

      Farmers’ markets are launched and operate owing to a multitude of factors and objectives. Some open in response...

  6. Part Two Production Policies: A Case Study on Contracts in Pepper Farming (6-6)

    • Introduction
      (pp. 133-134)

      In this section, the cases present policy options to help farmers expand production, increase incomes, improve food security, and manage production and market risks. The emphasis is on policies to mitigate the negative effects of potential or actual famines, droughts, and a series of other threats facing small farmers and pastoralists. Land distribution policies, research and technology policies, and policies to facilitate the production of biofuel without negative effects on food security are also discussed....

    • Chapter Eleven The 2002 Malawi Famine (7-1)
      (pp. 135-148)
      Erica Phillips

      Famine has been described as “a catastrophic disruption of the social, economic, and institutional systems that provide for food production, distribution, and consumption” (von Braun et al. 1998). Famines have occurred in every part of the world throughout history, and the 21st century is no exception. Millions of people, mainly in Africa, still suffer food shortages and occasionally face famine. Famine can occur not only when insufficient food is available, but also when people do not have adequate “entitlements” to access food (Sen 1981).

      From its independence in 1964 through the 1980s, Malawi was a self-sufficient producer of maize in...

    • Chapter Twelve Persistent Food Insecurity from Policy Failures in Malawi (7-2)
      (pp. 149-160)
      Suresh Babu and Prabuddha Sanyal

      Even in the era of globalization, several countries in Africa continue to face chronic and persistent food insecurity. Malawi is one such country. Following a weather shock in 2001, Malawi suffered severe food crises during 2001/02 and again during 2003/04. The main causes of these crises were both natural and manmade. Although poor rainfall resulted in low agricultural productivity, inefficient government policies exacerbated the crises. The reduction in per capita food availability due to low production led to a dramatic increase in food prices. The rapid increase in prices, combined with low purchasing power of a large section of the...

    • Chapter Thirteen Policy Implications of Droughts and Food Insecurity in Malawi and Zambia (7-3)
      (pp. 161-174)
      Anandita Philipose

      This paper examines the recent droughts in Malawi and Zambia (covering the period 1990–2005 but with a focus on the 2001/2002 Southern African crisis), analyzing the impact of the droughts on food security and the responses to the crises. Several questions make these two countries particularly complex case studies: Why did relatively mild weather shocks lead to such a devastating crisis in 2001/2002? How did lack of coordination between governments and donors exacerbate the crisis? And why, given the historical tendency of these countries to experience recurrent droughts, were no measures put into place to counter the adverse impacts...

    • Chapter Fourteen Famine and Food Insecurity in Ethiopia (7-4)
      (pp. 175-184)
      Joachim von Braun and Tolulope Olofinbiyi

      Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa, is home to about 75 million people. The country has a tropical monsoon climate characterized by wide topographic-induced variations. With rainfall highly erratic, Ethiopia is usually at a high risk for droughts as well as intraseasonal dry spells. The majority of the population depends on agriculture as the primary source of livelihood, and the sector is dominated by smallholder agriculture. These small farmers rely on traditional technologies and produce primarily for consumption.

      Famine vulnerability is high in Ethiopia. With the rapid population growth of the past two decades, per capita food...

    • Chapter Fifteen Managing Drought Risks in the Low-Rainfall Areas of the Middle East and North Africa (7-5)
      (pp. 185-194)
      Peter Hazell

      The need to improve methods for managing drought risks in the low-rainfall areas of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has increased in recent decades as population growth and climate change have contributed to greater demands on the resource base and accentuated both the incidence and severity of drought losses. Government interventions have typically been initiated on an ad hoc basis in response to crisis situations, and little thought is usually given to their long-term impacts on the way farmers and herders manage resources and the productivity of agropastoral systems. There is now accumulating evidence to show that once...

    • Chapter Sixteen Policy Measures for Pastoralists in Niger (7-6)
      (pp. 195-206)
      Erica Phillips

      Pastoralism is often misunderstood, labeled “backward” and “irrational,” and considered environmentally destructive by many policy makers. Bias toward settled farmers has historically dominated research institutions, governments, and development nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and some countries have attempted to forcibly settle their pastoralist populations. In many arid and semiarid regions, however, pastoralism is the best or only way humans can make productive use of natural resources. Pastoralists have adjusted to some of the harshest conditions in the world and have well-designed, adaptive livelihood strategies. In addition, pastoralists contribute to one of the strongest export sectors in certain countries—the meat market.


    • Chapter Seventeen Farm Restructuring in Transition: Land Distribution in Russia (7-7)
      (pp. 207-216)
      Eugenia Serova

      The agrarian reform of the 1990s in Russia was targeted at transforming the formerly state-owned and centrally planned agriculture sector to a market-oriented one. The reform dramatically changed farm structure and land tenure in rural areas. The preconditions of the reform prohibited land restitution, as took place in many Eastern and Central European countries in transition. Instead, the major instrument of Russian reform was land sharing based on the allocation of conditional land shares, which were not indicated on the ground, to the rural population. This fragmentation of landownership was not coupled with the fragmentation of farming operations: the big...

    • Chapter Eighteen Biodiesel and India’s Rural Economy (7-8)
      (pp. 217-228)
      James Rhoads

      With annual economic growth rates of more than 7 percent and a population of well over a billion, India has a huge amount of global clout, both economically and environmentally. Although this recent economic growth has lifted millions out of dire poverty, millions more remain marginalized from the booming economy, and India will require massive amounts of resources to achieve its goal of reaching the status of a “developed” nation. Moreover, this growth must be achieved sustainably to prevent the short-term impacts from being over-shadowed by long-term environmental degradation.

      Alternative energy sources will play a role in maintaining economic growth...

  7. Part Three Natural Resource Management Policies: Land Distribution in Russia (7-7)

    • Introduction
      (pp. 229-230)

      The interaction between natural resource management and food production, as well as the role of government, is illustrated in the cases prepared for this section. Policy options through which government and civil society can fight soil degradation are presented, along with an illustration of how government policy can best be used to deal with strong interactions between human and environmental health in the context of expanded food production. These cases also present several policy options for allocating scarce water supplies....

    • Chapter Nineteen Civil Society Strategy to Fight Soil Degradation in Peru (8-1)
      (pp. 231-242)
      Lesli Hoey

      Soil degradation, a process that reduces the potential of land to support animal and plant production, has become one of the most pressing problems for farmers worldwide (Scherr 1999). Based on the opinions of 250 international experts, the United Nations Global Land Assessment of Degradation concluded as early as 1992 that degradation had caused a 38 percent loss in global agricultural land since the 1940s (Oldeman et al. 1992). This soil loss, at a rate of 5 to 10 million hectares per year, has multiple causes, including nutrient and vegetative depletion, agrochemical pollution, deforestation, and soil erosion due to severe...

    • Chapter Twenty Incentives for Soil Conservation in Peru (8-2)
      (pp. 243-254)
      Helena Posthumus

      Soil erosion poses a serious threat to agricultural production in developing countries, especially in regions such as the Andes, where soil erosion is widespread and affects the livelihoods of farm households. Despite considerable program efforts to promote soil conservation practices among farm households, the uptake is often disappointing. Often these practices are not cost-efficient for the farm households. To counteract the lack of benefits, natural resource management programs intervene by providing households with direct incentives to promote soil conservation practices. The use of direct incentives is criticized, however, because farm households tend to abandon soil conservation practices once the program...

    • Chapter Twenty-One Environment and Health in Rural Kazakhstan: Linking Agricultural Policy and Natural Resource Management to Rural Welfare (8-3)
      (pp. 255-268)
      Andrew Jones

      Oil revenues and foreign investment in the Caspian Sea’s burgeoning petroleum industry have brought Kazakhstan to the attention of governments and businesses worldwide. While Kazakhstan has made considerable economic strides in the past decade, an increasing urban-rural divide has placed poverty and ill health disproportionately on the shoulders of rural residents. The country’s bleak state of rural welfare in the past 15 years is largely explained by its inheritance of degraded natural resources from its Soviet forebears, the economic and social turmoil following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and inequitable, poorly implemented land reform and agricultural policies.

      Throughout the...

    • Chapter Twenty-Two Allocating Irrigation Water in Egypt (8-4)
      (pp. 269-288)
      Birgitte Gersfelt

      Agricultural production in Egypt is virtually fully dependent on irrigation. Egypt gets more than 95 percent of its annual renewable water resources from the Nile, and the construction of the High Aswan Dam, which was completed in 1971, has allowed Egypt to take full advantage of its share of Nile flows and increase both cropping intensity and size of the cultivated area. Egypt may face significant water scarcity within the foreseeable future, however, because of the combination of a more or less fixed supply of fresh water and increasing demands for water owing to population growth and reclamation of desert...