Effects of Maize Marketing and Trade Policy on Price Unpredictability in Zambia

As events in the 2008/09 season have amply demonstrated, instability in staple food market remains a major problem in Zambia. A rise in world food price levels and instability, which is projected to occur in the near future according to several international institutes, will make it all more important for developing countries to consider the strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches for buffering their domestic food systems from potential high volatility in world markets. These findings suggest that promoting more “rules based” approaches to marketing and trade policy may reduce the level of policy uncertainty and the price instability associated with it. Greater policy stability may also contribute to broader grain market development. For the most part, addressing problems of policy uncertainty involve very little cost per se, but do require greater coordination and more efficient management of government operations. However, policy makers may feel that rules-based and non-discretionary marketing and trade policies entails a loss of control and autonomy – leaders are bound to act according to predefined rules and triggers. Successfully addressing these dilemmas may lie at the heart of efforts to move to a new post-liberalization system in which governments retain the ability to influence prices to achieve national food security objectives but within a clear and transparent framework of credible commitment to support long run private investment in the development of markets.

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Food Security Research Project, Lusaka, Zambia, Working Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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