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From parastatals to private trade: Lessons from Asian agriculture


  • Rashid, Shahidur
  • Gulati, Ashok
  • Cummings, Ralph Jr.


In developing countries across Asia, food marketing parastatals have played an important role in agricultural policy, especially with regard to government efforts to stabilize food prices. Three broad market failures constitute the primary arguments for this form of government intervention: a lack of market integration stemming from inadequate infrastructure, the absence or inadequacy of risk-mitigating institutions and markets, and the need to protect the world's poorest communities from a volatile global market. Opponents of such public intervention schemes claim that the old rationales are no longer convincing, that the programs are not cost-effective and do not allocate resources optimally, and that private institutions are strong enough to take over many of the functions traditionally performed by parastatals. In From Parastatals to Private Trade, the editors—clearly from the latter camp—pose three general questions: Why must parastatal-centered policies in Asia change, when should policy changes occur, and how should such change happen: gradually or abruptly? Experts in agricultural policy use case studies from South Asia (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) and East Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) to answer these questions; and a concluding chapter synthesizes these countries' experiences with price stabilization programs. In light of the evidence—which indicates that parastatals played important roles in the past but have become overly expensive, and that reduced intervention can promote competition, help develop alternative institutions, and release funds for development and antipoverty programs without jeopardizing price stability—the editors highlight the challenges ahead and propose suggestions for reforming the existing paradigm for price-related policies. This volume provides valuable analyses for anyone concerned with balancing government intervention with market-friendly policies.

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Suggested Citation

  • Rashid, Shahidur & Gulati, Ashok & Cummings, Ralph Jr. (ed.), 2008. "From parastatals to private trade: Lessons from Asian agriculture," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 978-0-8018-8815-1, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprib:9780801888151

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 2005. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023399, December.
    2. Srinivasan, P. V. & Jha, Shikha, 2001. "Liberalized trade and domestic price stability. The case of rice and wheat in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 417-441, August.
    3. Birner, Regina & Gupta, Surupa & Sharma, Neeru, 2011. "The political economy of agricultural policy reform in India: Fertilizers and electricity for irrigation," Research reports reginabirner, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Jha, Shikha & Srinivasan, P. V., 1999. "Grain price stabilization in India: Evaluation of policy alternatives," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 93-108, August.
    5. C. Peter Timmer, 1997. "Farmers and Markets: The Political Economy of New Paradigms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 621-627.
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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kydd, Jonathon, 2015. "Ex-post evaluation study of IFPRI’s research on high-value agriculture, 1994–2010," Impact assessments 39, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Dorosh, Paul A. & Rashid, Shahidur & Childs, Abigail & Van Asselt, Joanna, 2015. "Enhancing food security in South Sudan: The role of public food stocks and cereal imports:," IFPRI discussion papers 1482, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Goundan, Anatole & Tankari, Mahamadou Roufahi, 2016. "A dynamic spatial model of agricultural price transmission: Evidence from the Niger millet market:," IFPRI discussion papers 1536, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. repec:fpr:ifpric:9780896292499-08 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Christophe Gouel, 2016. "Trade Policy Coordination and Food Price Volatility," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1018-1037.
    6. Dorosh, Paul A. & Rashid, Shahidur, 2012. "Food and agriculture in Ethiopia: Progress and policy challenges," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 978-0-81224-529-5 edited by Dorosh, Paul A. & Rashid, Shahidur.
    7. Ashok Gulati & Kavery Ganguly, 2010. "The changing landscape of Indian agriculture," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(s1), pages 37-45, November.
    8. Dorosh, Paul A., 2012. "The evolving role of agriculture in Ethiopia's economic development," IFPRI book chapters, in: Dorosh, Paul A. & Rashid, Shahidur (ed.), Food and agriculture in Ethiopia: Progress and policy challenges, chapter 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Dorosh, Paul A. & Rashid, Shahidur, 2012. "Bangladesh rice trade and price stabilization: Implications of the 2007/08 experience for public stocks," IFPRI discussion papers 1209, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Dorosh, Paul A. & Childs, Abigail, 2014. "International rice trade and security stocks: Prospects for an expanded Asian international rice reserve:," IFPRI discussion papers 1394, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Debaere, Peter & Glaser, Toni & Willmann, Gerald, 2015. "Choosing between Protectionism and Free Trade in an Uncertain World," CEPR Discussion Papers 10625, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Gulati, Ashok, 2009. "Indian Agriculture: Changing Landscape," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 53205, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Dorosh, Paul A. & Rashid, Shahidur, 2013. "Trade subsidies, export bans and price stabilization: Lessons of Bangladesh–India rice trade in the 2000s," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 103-111.


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