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An analysis of the staple grain economies of ten African countries shows that declining per capita food production has not been offset by mcreased imports. The impact ofweathervanation, pa1ticularly drought, has been severe, reducing annual product10n by as much as 50 percent at times. Pohcies affectmg food availabihty have undergone changes as governments seek to stimulate production. Increased producer pnces, urged by donor countnes, have ehcited a positive response. The magmtude of pnce response vanes among countnes but 1n general provides support for those who argue that raising prices ts an incentive to producers. Lagging domestic production has increased food import dependency. At the same time, deterioration of the domestic economies, combined with global factors, has led to financial crises. As food production has fallen, a part of the dwmdhng supply of hard currency has been spent on the purchase of food. Governments increased imports m response to production shortfalls. Increased foreign exchange earnings also led to greater imports. Food aid did not s1gmf1cantly reduce commercial imports. Adjustment by means of food imports will be slow m countries with historically low volume of imports. Price pohcy reforms and mcreased export earnings will lead to greater improvements m food consumption m those countries with better production performance.


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