Agricultural trade and food security implications for trade policy and development goals
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Agricultural trade and food security: IMPLICATIONS FOR TRADE POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT GOALS. Jonathan Brooks, OECD IDDRI Workshop, 29th January 2014. Overview. Trade openness and food security: General benefits But concerns about “losers” How best to address negative impacts?

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Agricultural trade and food security: IMPLICATIONS FOR TRADE POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT GOALS

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Agricultural trade and food security implications for trade policy and development goals

Agricultural trade and food security: IMPLICATIONS FOR TRADE POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Jonathan Brooks, OECDIDDRI Workshop, 29th January 2014


Overview

Overview

Trade openness and food security:

  • General benefits

  • But concerns about “losers”

  • How best to address negative impacts?

    Implications for trade (WTO) rules

    Implications for SDGs and the post 2015 agenda

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Benefits of trade openness

Benefits of trade openness

  • Enables food to flow from surplus to deficit areas

  • Promotes efficient use of national resources, driving growth and employment

  • Role in ensuring sustainability: areas of population and demand growth ≠ areas with productive potential

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Concerns about trade openness

Concerns about trade openness

  • Macro concerns about food import dependence, size of import bills

  • Micro concerns related to the level and volatility of food prices

  • Structural concerns, especially about what it implies for smallholder farmers

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Food imports as share of total merchandise imports 1961 2010

Food imports as share of total merchandise imports, 1961-2010

Source: FAOSTAT.

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Ratio of food import expenditure to exports of goods and services 1995 2010

Ratio of food import expenditure to exports of goods and services (1995-2010)

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Micro concern level and volatility of prices

Micro concern: level and volatility of prices

Standard OECD advice: policies that seek to influence the level of prices are inefficient (the benefits leak) and inequitable (they pay more to bigger farmers)

Stabilising prices deters effective risk management, turns into support, and often becomes a budgetary millstone

Role for government:

  • Social safety nets to protect incomes

  • Development of risk management instruments

  • Providing essential public goods (e.g. rural infrastructure, R&D)

  • Providing an enabling environment that improves productivity sustainably

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Oecd composition of producer support estimate pse 1986 2012

OECD composition of Producer Support Estimate (PSE), 1986-2012

Source: OECD, PSE/CSE database, 2012.


Do poorer countries need more policy space

Do poorer countries need more “policy space”?

Attempts to manage price levels even more futile

buyers and sellers of food among the poor

some are not integrated with formal markets

Domestic price risks more frequent and severe than international price risks; poor track record of price management schemes, vulnerable to strategic behaviour

Better to invest in moving to the same instruments recommended for OECD countries – underinvestment in agriculture and rural areas a key issue

But what if the necessary institutions do not exist?

  • Social protection being scaled up, but still not in place in many countries

  • Risk management tools difficult to develop

    Moreover, pulling the price lever is politically attractive…in extremis policymakers may feel it is their only option

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


What about smallholders

What about smallholders?

  • Dominate the rural economy in many developing countries: raising their incomes is essential for food security

  • Huge scope to improve smallholder productivity – better to do that through investment than through subsidies.

  • But raising smallholder incomes goes hand-in-hand with the agricultural transformation: most will have better long-term opportunities outside agriculture than within it.

  • Policies need to smooth that transition not impede it. Trade protection does the latter.

  • Economic diversification a big challenge: value added based on agriculture a promising channel.

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Implications for trade policy

Implications for trade policy

Export competition: strong case for eliminating both export subsidies and export restrictions

Market access:

  • Large gaps between bound and applied rates

    • Countries have scope to raise tariffs when prices spike downwards

    • When they spike sharply upwards, waiving tariffs may not have much impact

  • Some scope to stabilise prices (mitigate extreme movements) could be a quid pro quo for narrowing the gap between bound and applied rates

    Domestic support: allow support that offsets internal market failures but not beyond

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


Implications for development goals

Implications for development goals

  • Headline aspirations a call to action: eradicate poverty, end hunger

  • Good to have global measures of performance, but robustness of our measures ($ a day poverty, undernourishment) has been questioned

  • Intermediate targets are more problematic:

    • Need to be linked to a proven channel of impact

    • Need to be realistic

    • It needs to make sense to have a common target across countries

  • Separating the poverty and hunger targets is a big worry: poverty is the main cause of hunger and malnutrition!

OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate


For more information

For more information

  • Visit our website: www.oecd.org/agricultureContact us: [email protected]; [email protected]

Trade and Agriculture Directorate


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