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Workshop on staple food trade and market policy options for promoting development in Eastern and Southern Africa

1-2 March 2007, Rome, Italy

The purpose of the workshop is to review existing knowledge and practical experience about food trade policy with a view to informing the debate on appropriate trade policy in the E&SA region, particularly as it concerns basic food products.

The workshop takes stock of the factual information about food market organization and performance in E&SA, identify the major trade and market-related factors impeding productivity growth and food security in the region, review theoretical and empirical analysis of appropriate trade policy in the context of agricultural development and more specifically food markets in E&SA, and examine the experience of countries in the region concerning their policies in this area. The workshop concludes by identifying major trade policy challenges for governments, private sector actors, donor organizations, and researchers in order to promote national agricultural and food security objectives in the region.

The workshop includes discussions of both a theoretical and applied nature, as well as discussions of the characteristics of basic food markets in E&SA, and the state of agro-food trade policies in some of the countries of the region. The analytical insights and practical experiences are used to form the basis of the future information, advisory and capacity building work of FAO in the region concerning trade and development policies. A major policy issue to which an answer is sought concerns the case for a regional free trade area or common market for staple foods in E&SA, and the constraints and impediments, in realizing it.

Presentations and papers