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The State of Food and Agriculture 1995

Agricultural trade: entering a new era?

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    Book (series)
    La situation mondiale de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture 1995
    Le commerce agricole: à l'aube d'une ère nouvelle?
    Le thème de la sécurité alimentaire occupe une place importante dans tout le rapport de la Situation mondiale de l’alimentation et de l’agriculture 1995. Dans un contexte de faits nouveaux, le tableau général qui ressort de ce rapport est marqué par des progrès encourageants dans de nombreux secteurs favorisant directement ou indirectement l’alimentation et l’agriculture. En effet, l’exercice 1994-95 a vu le rétablissement de l’économie mondiale se renforcer après le ralentissement de 1990-1993 ; d’autres progrès de libéralisation et de réformes économiques dans de nombreux pays; un relèvement des prix internationaux des denrées de base qui a fourni à nombre d’économies agricoles d’exportation les recettes en devises qui devraient leur permettre de consolider leur base pour une croissance soutenue. Ces nouveautés sur la scène mondiale, ainsi qu’un certain nombre de réalisations importantes dans diverses régions et pays, configurent ce qui sera probablement inscrit dans les mémoires com me une période d’opportunités et d’espoir pour de nombreux pays du monde en développement.
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    Although given prominence in the context of the current World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations, trade reforms are generally a component of a wider set of economic and institutional reforms. The complexity of reform packages, the wide variation in policy sets, the context within which they are used, and the thoroughness with which they are followed through, makes it extremely difficult to isolate the impact of specific trade reforms on the food security status of developing countries. As yet, there is no clear consensus on answers to general questions, such as “will developing countries benefit from reduced agricultural protection in economies of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)?”, let alone more specific questions which might include “how can developing country governments best promote smallholder agriculture in the new global environment, and what form of special and differential treatment might be required to allow them to do so?” In many c ases, “successful” reforms have been achieved not in isolation, but as a consequence of associated policy implementation. In drawing lessons from reforms that are perceived to have benefited food insecure groups, or at the very least, not to have disadvantaged them, it is therefore important to identify the complementary policies that facilitated the process of adjustment to more productive activities, and any compensatory policies that acted to alleviate the transitional losses that insecure gr oups may otherwise have faced. A clearer understanding of the often-obscured effects of trade reform on food security is therefore vital if the drivers of further reform are to result in changes to the benefit of insecure and vulnerable groups in poor countries.
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    Book (series)
    The State of Food and Agriculture, 1997
    The agroprocessing industry and economic development
    The State of Food and Agriculture this year reports that numerous concrete initiatives have recently been taken or strengthened to address the various dimensions of food security, including through formulating and coordinating the implementation of integrated food security programmes. We also welcome the fact that, after earlier positive signs, many poor countries have seen their prospects for food security further improve because of their success in creating a policy environment conducive to su stained economic and agricultural growth. Although economic and food security problems remain serious in Africa, the improvement made in much of the region over the past two years is most heartening in this respect. Furthermore, a number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific appear to have entered a phase of solidly based growth, sustained in many cases by a good performance of the agricultural sector. The fact that many economies that are crucially dependent o n commodity exports have shown resilience to the weakening prices of several of these commodities since 1994-95 has been a significant and encouraging feature of the past year. This year’s special chapter of The State of Food and Agriculture focuses on the agroprocessing industry and its symbiotic links with economic and agricultural and rural development.

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