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A review of policy incentives patterns in sub-Saharan Africa in the last decade is now online

05 Jun 2018
MAFAP has recently published a synthesis study, summarizing the results emerging from the 2017 update of policy monitoring indicators for 14 sub-Saharan African countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. These indicators are commonly used to assess the extent of policy support to agriculture, both in terms of price incentives for farmers in key commodity value chains, as well as level and composition of public expenditure in support of the agriculture sector.

The results of the analysis are very heterogeneous across countries and commodities but overall indicate increasing support to farmers in the form of price incentives over the last decade. Policies aimed at sustaining national food crop production, such as import tariffs and price support, gained momentum after the food price crises period (2007–2011) when policy-makers were mainly concerned about consumer protection.

On the other hand, a stagnant or even declining trend of expenditures allocated to the agriculture sector is observed in many countries. A large share of this expenditure is directed to producers, mainly in the form of input subsidies, while expenditures supporting other value chain agents as well as funding on research and knowledge dissemination are declining. Food crops continue to dominate public budgets while spending on cash crops or “innovative” products (e.g. horticulture) as well as on value chain integration and commercialization remains limited.

Recent efforts to convert resources that were previously allocated to input subsidies towards investments in agricultural and rural infrastructure have not yet yielded the expected results. Market inefficiencies still persist as a source of price disincentives to farmers and a major constraint to agricultural development. Moreover, despite the recognition that a stable and predictable policy and price environment is crucial for economic growth, politically sensitive food security crops, like rice and maize, are still subject to discretionary market interventions by governments that tend to generate instability and unintended effects.

These results, produced in close collaboration with MAFAP country teams based at the Ministry of Agriculture and national research institutes, were discussed and reviewed last year in July during a regional workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya. The MAFAP indicators presented in the report will also feed into the next update of the Ag-Incentives database of the Consortium of International Organizations for Measuring the Policy Environment for Agriculture. This global platform aggregates data and indicators on agricultural policy support for 60 countries across the world in support of evidence-based decision making.

Download the publication: http://www.fao.org/3/i8997en/I8997EN.pdf