Cereal Market Dynamics: The Malian Experience from the 1990s to Present
This paper assesses the role that cereal markets have played in stimulating farm-level productivity growth and marketing of staple foods, in responding to changing demand patterns, in satisfying minimum food security needs, and in contributing to poverty reduction in both urban areas (through reductions in food prices) and rural areas (through increases in farm incomes). The paper uses a case study approach based on the Malian experience. Mali presents a particularly good case study of cereal market development because of (1) a unique approach to donor and government coordination during the early stages of market liberalization, (2) the contrasting development paths of the irrigated rice and the rainfed coarse grains subsectors, (3) Mali’s growing role in West Africa’s regional cereal trade, and (4) on-going policy debates that are relevant to the entire region. These policy debates include questions such as (1) how to balance consumer and producer interests via trade, tax, and safety net policies, (2) how to shape land policies that encourage a mix of family and commercial farms capable of meeting both national food production goals and poverty reduction objectives, and (3) how to provide incentives that reduce rural poverty by assisting resource poor farmers while also stimulating greater productivity among better-off farmers.
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