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Assessing Policy Coherence

The Challenge

Agricultural development does not happen in a vacuum, but is affected by the overall policy environment. Even well designed policies may fail to work as expected if other policies contradict them. Furthermore, inadequate funding, weak infrastructure, lack of access to markets, and even corruption may reduce their effectiveness.

What MAFAP is doing

Through MAFAP, FAO tracks public expenditure related to agriculture and measures the impact of policies on the prices of key agricultural commodities.

MAFAP country reports provide policy makers with detailed assessments of:

  • the impact of food and agricultural policies on producers;
  • public expenditure to support food and agriculture; and
  • whether these are consistent with other government policies and objectives.

Indeed, systematically comparing policy objectives, public expenditure and policy impact helps identify:

  • opportunities for making policies more coherent; and
  • priorities for investment.

Analyzing Policy Coherence in Tanzania

In Tanzania, many farmers have difficulty accessing markets because of a lack of rural roads and storage facilities. MAFAP price analysis shows that:

• difficulty in accessing markets and a lack of infrastructure are the main reasons farmers do not produce more; and

• if these constraints were adequately addressed, farmers would be able to obtain higher prices for their products.

However, MAFAP’s analysis of public expenditure in the agricultural sector shows that only one percent of the agriculture budget is spent on non-farm agricultural infrastructure and two percent on storage. Furthermore, the biggest share of direct support to producers goes to input subsidies. These inconsistencies draw attention to key investment opportunities, and provide an important input into the dialogue between donors and the government.