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Agricultural Policies for Poverty Reduction

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With more than two-thirds of the world’s poor living in rural areas, higher rural incomes are a pre-requisite for sustained poverty reduction and reduced hunger. This volume sets out a strategy for raising rural incomes which emphasises the creation of diversified rural economies with opportunities within and outside agriculture. Agricultural policies need to be integrated within an overall mix of policies and institutional reforms that facilitate, rather than impede, structural change. By investing in public goods, such as infrastructure and agricultural research, and by building effective social safety nets, governments can limit the role of less efficient policies such as price controls and input subsidies.

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Stabilisation Policies in Developing Countries after the 2007-08 Food Crisis

Conventional best practice advice for risk management strategies tends to focus on long-run agricultural development, trade liberalisation, the provision of safety nets and private market solutions to risk. However, if world price spikes like those observed in 2008 are an infrequent but real event, policy recommendations need to take into account the greater prevalence of market failures in many developing countries and associated underdevelopment of marketing institutions. While policy should rely on liberal trade in most years, a short-run stocks policy may be a viable option, due to delays in import arrival, imperfect information on the harvest, and inter-seasonal price dynamics. Moreover, trade policy adjustments are likely to be perceived as necessary when infrequent world price spikes reoccur. The challenge to implementing such policies lies in ensuring consistent, predictable and transparent governance so that interventions make outcomes better, not worse.

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