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2020 ReSAKSS Annual Conference - Plenary Session V Enabling Environment for Transforming Agrifood Systems

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Presentation on Political Economy of Agriculture Policy in Africa: Implications for Agrifood System Transformation

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2020 ReSAKSS Annual Conference - Plenary Session V Enabling Environment for Transforming Agrifood Systems

  1. 1. Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa: Implications for Agrifood System Transformation Dr. Danielle Resnick, IFPRI 5 November 2020
  2. 2. Agriculture Policy & Political Economy Issues Price distortions regime type and interest group influence Public investments visibility and attribution by voters of private vs. public goods Agro-industrial policy state-business relations and bureaucratic autonomy Agrifood system transformation horizontal and vertical coordination Ideas, Norms, Biases, Ideology
  3. 3. Democratization credited with relative rates of assistance that favor agriculture over non-agriculture (Bates & Block 2013) • Malapportionment increases the weight of rural constituents in policy process (Boone & Wahman 2015) Trade distortions remain pronounced, particularly for politically-important grain crops • 82% of export bans between 1988-2017 occurred since 2000 (Schulz 2020) Well-organized interest groups lobby for preferred policy • In Southern Africa, volatile maize restrictions due to balancing interests of powerful millers, vocal farmers unions, and urban poor Distortions not bad on their own but need to be strategic rather than arbitrary and volatile • Requires strong state capacity and resistance to being hijacked by the loudest lobby groups, i.e. “embedded autonomy” Price Distortions 0 5 10 15 20 25 Ethiopia Mali Sierra Leone Burundi Cameroon Ghana Liberia South Africa Chad Rwanda Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe Tanzania Senegal Kenya Nigeria Number of events Export ban Export quota Export tax Import ban Import quota Import tariff Source: FAO’s Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis (FADPA). Trade-Related Price Distortions, 2008-2018
  4. 4. Public Investments Ag research & development (R&D) and extension receive lower public investments than input subsidies • Assumption that politicians prefer high visibility goods for which they can receive attribution from voters • Presidential initiatives around inputs, commodities, and infrastructure are high visibility investments Budget commitments need to be aligned with political economy analyses of the budgeting process • Veto players and opportunities for executive influence • Decentralization of agriculture to local governments Decline in ag budgets across districts after Ghana’s 2012 devolution Source: Resnick (2018) Examples of presidential initiatives
  5. 5. Agro-industrial Policy Targeting of agro-industry tied to whether it benefits ruling coalition (Kjær 2015; Whitfield et al. 2015) • Uganda: dairy industry vs. fish processing • Mozambique: sugar industry vs. fish processing Successful agro-industrialization requires…. • Capacity to address coordination failures and self-discovery externalities • Growth coalitions between business and states • Strengthened autonomy and accountability of bureaucrats to implement policies without excessive political interference Capture State policy hijacked by business Growth State and business cooperate to increase investment and public goods Collusive State and business engage in pervasive rent seeking Predatory State suppresses business due to low trust Different combinations of business-state relations Source: Adapted from Leftwich et al. (2008)
  6. 6. Agrifood Systems Expands Government Role Illustrative range of government responsibilities for agrifood systems policy agenda
  7. 7. Horizontal & Vertical Coordination Harmonize multiple policy objectives • Ensure agro-processing creates jobs but protects environment • Investments in ag R&D improves hunger but does not undermine diets Cross-sectoral issues • Expenditures beyond agriculture • Jurisdiction of ministerial mandates Multi-level challenges • Value chains span discrete political authorities in rural and urban areas • Cities can have complex institutional oversight of food system actors, such as informal food traders Source: Resnick and Sivasubramanian 2019 Governance of informal food in Accra, Ghana
  8. 8. Conclusions Political economy permeates any policy decision • Likely to be more pronounced from an agrifood systems perspective Strengthening state capabilities requires broader set of interventions beyond the agricultural sector • Improve low budget transparency in region • Build capacity for budgeting and M&E in agri-food ministries • Support parliamentary ag committees, audit institutions, business associations • Learn from public sector experiments with multisectoral agencies, performance contracts, and delivery units Low budget transparency in region