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Food Security and Agricultural Development. David Leonard Professorial Fellow in Governance Institute of Development Studies (UK). Technical Advances (1). “The Future of Food and Farming” is right that technical change in agricultural production will be necessary Probably includes GMOs

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Food security and agricultural development

Food Security and Agricultural Development

David Leonard

Professorial Fellow in Governance

Institute of Development Studies (UK)


Technical advances 1
Technical Advances (1)

  • “The Future of Food and Farming” is right that technical change in agricultural production will be necessary

  • Probably includes GMOs

  • But should include reduction in use of herbicides and insecticides (which is good for the environment and for costs)

  • Hard to avoid chemical fertilisers, given African problems with declining soil fertility.


Technical advances 2
Technical Advances (2)

  • Big question is not whether technical change but what kind.

  • Need ones that respect the quite different relative prices of the factors of production of the poor.


Relative prices of factors of production
Relative Prices of Factors of Production

  • OECD Labour> Land> Capital

  • LICsLabour< Land< Capital


Small farms are good for
Small Farms Are Good for

  • Productivity per unit of land (Lipton)

  • Income distribution (Johnston, Tomitch) as

    • Subsistence reduces trading costs

    • Increases return to labour

    • Gives return to front-line small farm manager

  • Industrialisation (Mellor, Kilby) as

    • Creates mass market


Increasing number and viability of small farms
Increasing Number and Viability of Small Farms

  • Large scale land reform generally is out of political fashion at the moment

  • However, small farms can be encouraged by

    • Appropriate, labour-intensive technologies

    • Dense infrastructure in support of small farm access to markets

      • Transport; Marketing; Finance (e.g. Contract farming)

    • Heavier taxes on large farms


Dangers
Dangers

  • Extensive international purchases of land or land rights

    • Pretends state own unoccupied land

    • When in fact it is trustee for peasants who have use rights

    • Very little land is completely unused

  • Mindless transfer of technologies from land abundant/ labour scarce societies to LMICs

  • EU CAP and USA agricultural subsidies


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