Regional Cooperation to Improve Food Security in Southern and Eastern African Countries

Success in ensuring a continuous, adequate supply of food is one of the most important bases on which governments of low-income countries are judged by their people. This is because downward fluctuations in food supplies wreak great privation on low-income people and redistribute real income away from them. In view of this, the International Food Trade and Food Security Program at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has undertaken a series of studies of food supply management in developing countries. Among the policies considered have been schemes to compensate for fluctuations in food production and supply and in foreign exchange availability at the national, regional, and international levels. IFPRI's studies of food management policies in individual countries have included Government Policy and Food Imports: The Case of Wheat in Egypt, Research Report 29, by Grant M. Scobie, and Policy Modeling of a Dual Grain Market: The Case of Wheat in India, Research Report 38, by Raj Krishna and Ajay Chhibber. Work on food security policies in Pakistan is under way. The continuing difficulty in establishing a world grain reserve suggests that such a scheme is impractical. However, regional cooperation may provide a viable means of improving Third World food security. In Research Report 26, Food Security in the Sahel: Variable Import Levy, Grain Reserves, and Foreign Exchange Assistance, John Mclntire looked at possibilities for regional cooperation among the Sahelian countries. This research report focuses on the potential for improving food security among nine Southern and Eastern African countries that joined together in 1980 to explore regional cooperation by forming the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). Ulrich Koester, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Kiel, Federal Republic of Germany, was asked to undertake this research because he has spent many years studying the effects of the food policies of the European Community. In 1982 IFPRI published his work Policy Options for the Grain Economy of the European Community: Implications for Developing Countries, Research Report 35. Because he is so thoroughly versed in the successes and failures of the EC and other regional cooperation schemes, he was particularly qualified to evaluate the possibilities and pitfalls that face the SADCC countries in pursuing regional cooperation to ensure food security. Koester shows that considerable savings are possible from regional cooperation, due substantially to the circumvention of extraordinarily high transport costs that so insulate the bulk of the countries from international trade. However, he also points to the difficulty in obtaining cooperation on exchange rates and other macro policies, though this is essential if regional cooperation is to achieve its full potential for providing food security. Besides the substantial research project under way in Pakistan, IFPRI has plans for comparative analyses of food security issues in several other countries. When these studies are completed, a broad picture will be available as to the varying needs for achieving food security in the Third World.

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0-89629-053-0 (Other)
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Research Report

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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