How Far Has Africa Come in Reducing its Anti-agricultural Policy Bias?
For decades, earnings from farming in many African countries have been depressed by own-country policies such as export restrictions on cash crop products, as well as by governments of richer countries favoring their farmers with import barriers and subsidies. Both sets of policies have reduced national and global economic welfare, inhibited agricultural trade and economic growth, and may well have added to income inequality and poverty in Africa. During the past two decades, however, numerous African country governments have reduced their sectoral and trade policy distortions, while some high-income countries also have begun reducing market-distorting aspects of their farm policies. This paper provides new estimates of the changing extent of policy distortions to prices faced by African farmers over the past half century. It compares that pattern with similar estimates from Asia and Latin America, before discussing prospects for further pro-poor policy reform of agricultural price and trade policies.
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