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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: February 2010

12 - Modeling the effects on agriculture of protection in developing countries

Summary

Introduction

Developing countries have clear but differing interests in greater reform of international trade in agriculture. In low-income countries, agriculture still accounts for a substantial proportion of domestic output, and especially employment (see table 12.1).

In many developing countries, achieving sufficient domestic production plus imports of foodstuffs to sustain a healthy population – popularly termed “food security” – is of considerable concern, often, it is alleged, in the face of highly fluctuating commodity prices and uncertain export earnings. Indeed, food security concerns often give rise to market interventions and trade measures to promote domestic food production and control exports and imports of essential food commodities such as cereal grains.

However, further multilateral liberalization of agricultural trade and domestic economic policies would promote wider global integration of markets for agricultural goods. If such liberalization of trade and economic policies stabilized and even raised world prices for agricultural goods, internationally competitive producers in developing countries would benefit. What's more, both low-income and more advanced developing countries have considerable comparative advantage in a number of non-food agricultural goods and light manufactures. They could export such goods to finance food imports, offsetting periodic or persistent shortfalls in domestic food production.

Direct gains to consumers in developing countries are more problematic, depending upon the extent to which they benefit from artificially low prices for foodstuffs owing to production and export subsidies in industrial countries, and from international food aid.

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