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Subsidies and regulatory reform in West African cotton: What are the development stakes?


  • Shepherd, Ben
  • Delpeuch, Claire


• Available evidence strongly suggests that cotton producers in West Africa are relatively unresponsive to changes in world prices. This means they are poorly placed to take advantage of improved market conditions that might result from the reduction or abolition of cotton subsidies in rich countries. • To increase price responsiveness and ensure that the results of multilateral reform match producers’ expectations it is now more urgent than ever to undertake comprehensive regulatory reform of cotton marketing structures. • While most West African countries have already taken important steps in that direction, much work still remains to be done, in particular in Mali. The necessary path of reform is highly complex and country-specific, but we can suggest some overarching goals: Assuring closer alignment between world and domestic (producer) prices; Improving cotton sector productivity by reinforcing market infrastructure at crucial points in the supply chain, and ensuring openness to technological advances including biotechnology; Investing in physical and informational infrastructure so as to bring farmers closer to markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Shepherd, Ben & Delpeuch, Claire, 2007. "Subsidies and regulatory reform in West African cotton: What are the development stakes?," MPRA Paper 2289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2289

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Balat, Jorge & Brambilla, Irene & Porto, Guido, 2009. "Realizing the gains from trade: Export crops, marketing costs, and poverty," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 21-31, June.
    2. Kym Anderson & Ernesto Valenzuela, 2007. "The World Trade Organisation's Doha Cotton Initiative: A Tale of Two Issues," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(8), pages 1281-1304, August.
    3. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2006. "Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6889.
    4. Poulton, Colin & Gibbon, Peter & Hanyani-Mlambo, Benjamine & Kydd, Jonathan & Maro, Wilbald & Larsen, Marianne Nylandsted & Osorio, Afonso & Tschirley, David & Zulu, Ballard, 2004. "Competition and Coordination in Liberalized African Cotton Market Systems," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 519-536, March.
    5. Irene Brambilla & Guido G. Porto, 2011. "Market structure, outgrower contracts, and farm output. Evidence from cotton reforms in Zambia," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 740-766, December.
    6. Gillson, I & Poulton, Colin & Balcombe, Kelvin & Page, S, 2004. "Understanding the impact of Cotton Subsidies on developing countries," MPRA Paper 15373, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Shepherd, Ben, 2006. "Estimating Price Elasticities of Supply for Cotton: A Structural Time-Series Approach," MPRA Paper 1252, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Baffes, John, 2004. "Cotton : Market setting, trade policies, and issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3218, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Delpeuch, Claire & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2013. "Revisiting the “Cotton Problem”—A Comparative Analysis of Cotton Reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 209-221.
    2. Delpeuch, Claire, 2011. "African cotton markets at crossroads : will the price spike turn into a new kick-start ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5847, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    International trade; agriculture; cotton; commodity marketing; regulatory reform; West Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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