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This paper examines the experience of Mozambique and Zambia, whose contrasting policy approaches and performance appear to challenge concerns that liberalization inevitably leads to the collapse of input systems for crops like cotton. First these countries are placed in context by providing a brief empirical overview of the performance of cotton sectors in seven SSA countries of Southern, Eastern, and West Africa. The authors then focus on Mozambique and Zambia, reviewing their differing initial conditions at the outset of reform, the divergent policies that each has put in place, and their relative performance. It conclude that a simple policy choice between liberalization or regulated monopoly is not sufficient for either cotton sector to achieve desired performance in the absence of rural input and credit markets, and identify the elements of joint public/private strategies necessary to improve performance in each country.


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