Interactions Between Food Market Reform and Regional Trade in Zimbabwe and South Africa: Implications for Food Security
A major role of agricultural policy is to identify policy changes that may induce technological innovation and productivity growth throughout the food system, in order to increase the living standards of people who must relate to it in one way or another. While food market reform has been subject to contentious and often emotional debate over the last decade in Africa, the debate has generally been over assumptions about how food markets work in reality as opposed to theory, and how markets actually respond to particular forms of policy change. The lack of consensus is partially due to a shortage of empirical, ground-level information linking specific policies to specific impacts. It is in this context that we draw on applied analysis in Southern Africa to make some observations on recent food market reforms and their effects on the performance of food systems in the region. The latter part of this paper considers how potential food market reform in South Africa will alter relative prices, trading incentives, and distributional consequences within the region. Particular emphasis is given to Zimbabwe and South Africa, the two largest traders of maize in the region.
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