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A comparative political economic analysis of maize sector policies in eastern and southern Africa

Nicholas Sitko (), Jordan Chamberlin (), Benedito Cunguara, Milu Muyanga and Julius Mangisoni

Food Policy, 2017, vol. 69, issue C, 243-255

Abstract: Maize sector policies in eastern and southern Africa are characterized by a large and often growing presence of the state. Yet the scope, scale, and modalities of state activities vary substantially across countries. Drawing on data from Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, and Mozambique this article compares the relative degree of state intervention in the maize sector. We show that relative preferences for output market subsidies, input market subsidies, trade restrictions, or non-interventionist approaches reflect the interplay of interest group lobbying, patronage networks, and ethnic and regional political affiliations. These relationships have deep historical roots and have often been intensified in the context of the emergence of multiparty politics. We show that interventionist orientations in output markets and trade do not translate into better performance or welfare outcomes. Input subsidy preferences produce more ambiguous welfare results, when the opportunity costs are not fully accounted for.

Keywords: Agricultural policy; Political economy; Smallholders; Interest groups; Africa; Maize (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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