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Standards and agro-food exports from developing countries: rebalancing the debate

Listed author(s):
  • Jaffee, Steven
  • Henson, Spencer
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    The proliferation and increased stringency of food safety and agricultural health standards is a source of concern among many developing countries. These standards are perceived as a barrier to the continued success of their exports of high-value agro-food products (including fish, horticultural, and other products), either because these countries lack the technical and administrative capacities needed for compliance or because these standards can be applied in a discriminatory or protectionist manner. The authors draw on available literature and work in progress to examine the underlying evidence related to the changing standards environment and its impact on existing and potential developing country exporters of high-value agricultural and food products. The evidence the authors present, while only partial, suggests that the picture for developing countries as a whole is not necessarily problematic and certainly less pessimistic than the mainstream"standards-as-barriers"perspective. Indeed, rising standards serve to accentuate underlying supply chain strengths and weaknesses and thus impact differently on the competitive position of individual countries and distinct market participants. Some countries and industries are even using high quality and safety standards to successfully (re-)position themselves in competitive global markets. This emphasizes the importance of considering the effects of food safety and agricultural health measures within the context of wider capacity constraints and underlying supply chain trends and drivers. The key question for developing countries is how to exploit their strengths and overcome their weaknesses such that they are gainers rather than losers in the emerging commercial and regulatory context.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3348.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3348
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    1. Unnevehr, Laurian J., 2000. "Food safety issues and fresh food product exports from LDCs," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 23(3), September.
    2. Unnevehr, Laurian J., ed., 2003. "Food safety in food security and food trade:," 2020 vision focus 10, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    5. Anonymous, 2003. "International Trade And Food Safety: Economic Theory And Case Studies," Agricultural Economics Reports 33941, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    7. Salay, Elisabete, 2003. "Case study reducing mycotoxins in Brazilian crops," 2020 vision briefs 10 No. 15, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    10. Henson, Spencer & Mitullah Winnie, 2004. "Kenyan exports of Nile perch : the impact of food safety standards on an export-oriented supply chain," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3349, The World Bank.
    11. Bureau, Jean-Christophe & Marette, Stephan & Schiavina, Alessandra, 1998. "Non-tariff Trade Barriers and Consumers' Information: The Case of the EU-US Trade Dispute over Beef," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 437-462.
    12. Dave D. Weatherspoon & Thomas Reardon, 2003. "The Rise of Supermarkets in Africa: Implications for Agrifood Systems and the Rural Poor," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21, pages 333-355, May.
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