nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2007‒06‒18
eight papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  2. TRENDS IN AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS IN ZAMBIA. By T.S. Jayne; J. Govereh; P. Chilonda; N. Mason; A. Chapoto; H. Haantuba
  3. Collective Action and Common Agricultural Policy Lobbying: Evidence of Euro-Group Influence, 1986-2003 By Jonsson, Thomas
  4. Productivity of Rural Credit: A Review of Issues and Some Recent Literature By Sriram M.S.
  5. Development Through Synergistic Reform By James E. Rauch
  6. When and why does it pay to be green? By Stefan Ambec; Paul Lanoie
  7. Cooperation and equity in the river sharing problem By Ambec, S.; Ehlers, L.
  8. Estimating Inefficiency and Total Factor Productivity: An Application to Irish Dairy Farming By James Carroll; Carol Newman; Fiona Thorne

  1. By: Stephen Kabwe; Cynthia Donovan; David Samazaka
    Abstract: With the risk of the drought in the agricultural production areas of Zambia, conservation farming (CF) was introduced as a set of technologies that can improve productivity while reducing plant stress due to moisture constraints. Under animal traction, CF involves using the Magoye ripper to minimize soil disturbance in land preparation and to help improve water conservation, thus enhancing farmers’ land and labor productivity. This technology has been promoted by Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Zambia and shows promise in on-station and on-farm trials. This research is based on actual farmer use of the ripper in Eastern and Southern Provinces in 2004/2005, a year with erratic rainfall and poor growing conditions in general. Thus, this research reflects how farmers apply the technology in combination with other cropping practices in cotton and maize production, and the outcome of its use under poor rainfall conditions, in comparison to animal traction ploughing. In this study, farmers were not directed, as in an on-farm trial, but used the rippers and other practices in their own way. The results show that the technology has benefits. When asked, the farmers identified various benefits to using the ripper. About 23% of the farmers indicated that ripped lines collected and conserved water such that crops in ripped fields were able to grow even during dry spells. The second most important benefit identified by the farmers was that the technology enables farmers to do early land preparation. Researchers use regression analysis to understand the effect of various practices and factors on yields of maize and cotton.
    Keywords: food security, Conservation Farming, Magoye Ripper, Zambia., Africa
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2007
  2. By: T.S. Jayne; J. Govereh; P. Chilonda; N. Mason; A. Chapoto; H. Haantuba
    Abstract: Effective agricultural and food security policies in Africa need to be based on a solid empirical foundation. In Zambia, it is widely perceived that poverty rates are increasing, agricultural growth is stagnant, and real food prices are higher as food production declines. This study examines these trends and finds that all of these perceptions are wrong. Rural poverty rates have declined substantially in rural Zambia since the early 1990s, although they are still unacceptably high. Real staple food prices for consumers have declined by 20% over the past decade, thanks to major reductions in maize milling and retailing margins. And there is evidence of impressive production growth for some crops that are becoming increasingly important sources of income and food security for Zambian farmers, despite evidence of stagnant production for other key crops. This paper examines the relationship between trends in agricultural sector performance and rural poverty in Zambia, the likely factors driving these trends, and the future implications for agricultural policy and investment strategies.
    Keywords: food security, policy, development, indicators, Zambia., Africa
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Jonsson, Thomas (Department of Economics, Umeå University)
    Abstract: This paper attempts to explain Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies to farmers by the in.uence of farmer interest-groups with an EU-wide membership (so called Euro-groups). The analysis is based on panel-data for .fteen commodities over the period 1986-2003. Because the CAP is set as an overall EU policy, e¤ective lobbying presents a collective action problem to the farmers in the EU as a whole. Indicators of lobbying, which are based on this perception, are found to explain part of the variation in agricultural support, suggesting that farmer Euro-groups in.uence agricultural policy within the EU.
    Keywords: Agricultural policy; political economy; lobbying
    JEL: H43 Q18
    Date: 2007–06–07
  4. By: Sriram M.S.
    Abstract: The policy intervention in agriculture has been credit driven. This is even more pronounced in the recent interventions made by the State, in doubling agricultural credit, providing subvention and putting an upper cap on interest rates for agricultural loans, the package announced for distressed farmers. We use existing literature and data to argue that the causality of agricultural output with increased doses of credit cannot be clearly established. We argue that Indian agriculture is undergoing fundamental change wherein the technology and inputs are moving out of the hands of the farmers to external suppliers. This, over a period of time may have resulted in the de-skilling of farmers and without adequate public investments in support services and without appropriate risk mitigation products has created a near-crisis in agriculture. Thus, we argue that policy interventions have to be necessarily patient and holistic. Looking specifically at the rural financial markets, using some primary data we argue that it is necessary to understand the rural financial markets from the demand side. We conclude the paper by identifying some directions in which the policy intervention could move, keeping the overall rural economy in view rather than being unifocal about agriculture.
    Date: 2007–06–07
  5. By: James E. Rauch
    Abstract: Several studies suggest that production of high-quality output is a precondition for firms in less developed countries to participate in the export market. Institutional deficiencies that raise the costs of entry into high-quality production therefore limit the positive impact that trade liberalization can have on income or growth. Institutional reform that reduces the costs of entry into high-quality production and trade reform therefore have synergistic effects on income and, possibly, growth. In contrast, institutional reform that reduces the costs of entry into low-quality production (e.g., reforms targeted at small businesses) interferes with the impact of trade reform. The model that yields these results is also used to analyze impacts of foreign direct investment and of subsidies to entrepreneurship in the presence of unemployment.
    JEL: F43 O24 O43
    Date: 2007–06
  6. By: Stefan Ambec; Paul Lanoie (IEA, HEC Montréal)
    Keywords: Environmental policy; innovation; Porter hypothesis; environmental regulation; pollution; capital market; green products.
    JEL: D21 D23 G22
    Date: 2007–05
  7. By: Ambec, S.; Ehlers, L.
    Abstract: This paper considers environments in which several agents (countries, farmers, cities) share water from a river. Each agent enjoys a concave benefit function from consuming water up to a satiation level. Noncooperative extraction is typically inefficient and any group of agents can gain if they agree on how to allocate water with monetary compensations. The paper describes which allocations of water and money are acceptable to riparian agents according to core stability and several criteria of fairness. It reviews some theoretical results. It then discusses the implementation of the proposed allocation with negotiation rules and in water markets. Lastly, it provides some policy insights.
    JEL: Q25 Q28
    Date: 2007
  8. By: James Carroll (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin); Carol Newman (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin); Fiona Thorne (Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, Dublin, Ireland)
    Abstract: This paper compares standard stochastic frontier models for panel data with a number of recently developed models designed to remove unobserved heterogeneity from the inefficiency component. Results are used to construct a generalised Malmquist total factor productivity (TFP) index. We conclude that the choice of approach makes little difference where the purpose of the study is to analyse aggregate trends in TFP and its components. However, where inefficiency estimates and their dispersion are of interest, attention should be paid to how the analyst’s interpretation of inefficiency relates to the underlying assumptions of the model that is used.
    Keywords: Efficiency, panel data, total factor productivity, stochastic production frontier, ‘true’ effects models, dairy sector
    JEL: D24 Q12
    Date: 2007–06

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