Foodgrain price stabilization in developing countries
The government of almost every country has intervened in the market pricing of foodgrains to promote price stability. But the rules of the game are changing as countries abandon trade restrictions and protectionist policies in the wake of the Uruguay Round agreement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Will food prices fluctuate more or less with trade liberalization? Foodgrain Price Stabilization in Developing Countries: Issues and Experiences in Asia, Food Policy Review 3, by Nurul Islam and Saji Thomas, looks at these issues from three perspectives. The first part reviews the literature and briefly summarizes the macro and micro policies that governments in developing countries have adopted to stabilize prices. It also considers alternative policies that do not seek to stabilize prices per se but deal with the consequences of price instability for food producers and consumers, such as crop insurance or futures markets. The second part focuses on the foodgrain price stabilization experiences of five developing countries in Asia, the circumstances underlying price stabilization policy for rice and wheat over time in each country, and the design and implementation of the schemes adopted. The third part examines the implications of the policies adopted for future price stability.
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