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Agriculture: Future Scenarios for Southern Africa

Author: Hilton E. Zunckel
Organisation: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Publish Date: 2009
Country: Southern Africa
Sector: Agriculture
Method: Scenarios
Theme: Food
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Southern Africa, Africa, Agriculture, Food, Biofuels, Scenarios

The briefing contextualizes the global debate on food security and trade policy instruments, defining the situation in Africa in general and Southern Africa in particular, and charts the broad contours of possible regional responses via the Southern African Development Community and the Southern African Customs Union from a trade perspective. The purpose of the briefing is to outline broad impacts that global scenarios bring to bear on staple foods consumed, whether grown in, imported into or exported from the region. The analysis finds that there are definite elements of the global agricultural trade agenda where Africa has a particular interest. These are focused primarily on market access issues, especially as regards preference erosion and exemptions from reduction commitments. Africa also has a vested interest in supporting the newly strengthened text on disciplining export restrictions from food exporting nations. Secondary are the domestic support considerations on subsidies and their negative link to fostering local productive capabilities. Food security issues through food aid disciplines are essentially present in the export subsidy disciplines, which seem to effectively deal with food aid emergencies using the new safe box. Policy measures available in the short run include the provision of safety nets and social protection to the most vulnerable consumers in both rural and urban areas, as well as the enhancement of short term supply responses by smallholder farmers. Improved trade policies can also yield important gains, using the existing and emerging World Trade Organization rules. In the longer run, it will be important to address the fundamentals that increase investment in agriculture, both public and private, and improve the functioning of agricultural markets.
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