Agricultural price policy for developing countries

Agricultural price policy for developing countries

John W. Mellor, ed., Raisuddin Ahmed, ed.
1988

The weight of agricultural prices in political debate, their searing importance to the poor, and their common association with unusually low agricultural output levels often lead to policies that focus directly on prices at the expense of other underlying economic relations. In contrast, this book’s objective is to focus explicitly on agricultural price policy in the context of economic growth and, more specifically, of technological change.

In the recent past, and in some cases even now, developing countries have followed foreign trade, exchange rate, and domestic policies which have so grossly distorted agricultural prices as to call for a single-minded focus on removing those gross distortions. We note such circumstances and their causes but look beyond "once-and-for-all" price adjustments to the process of technological change and the institutional changes that go, pari passu, with technological change. Agricultural price policy is important to those processes, and it is that interaction to which we constantly return.

The importance of agricultural price policies to development motivated the International Food Policy Research Institute to undertake the research, the papers, and the discussions that generated this book. The papers were prepared by the senior research staff of the International Food Policy Research Institute in the course of their in-depth research programs. Emphasis is given to the complexity of the issues. In some chapters, this is best brought out by exposition of the relationships themselves, with only modest reference to illustrative data. Other chapters are strongly empirical and deal with particular situations in order to show interactions. The book focuses on applied problems of developing countries; the purpose throughout is to inform practical policymaking.