This study surveys the empirical record of grain marketing and pricing policy in selected Eastern and Southern Africa countries. The paper addresses five key issues with major implications for food policy in Africa: (a) why the anticipated supply response to market liberalization has not yet occurred; (b) why the common assumption of state taxation of farmers to support a cheap food policy does not apply in most of these countries; (c) why the temporary successes of the state-led approach to stimulating smallholder grain production were unsustainable; (d) why the elimination of government food subsidies associated with market reform has not adversely affected consumers; and (e) why marketing board deficits have risen rather than declined after the reforms were initiated in most countries.


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