Ramirez Pastore Carlos Agustin and West Jason (2019-04-15): Competition Barriers to Paraguayan Beef Exports: An Economic Review

Paraguay’s beef industry has suffered sustained damage in credibility directly related to meat quality and process hygiene standards over the past two decades. These factors alone, however, are not the primary cause of persistent price discounting in export markets. Paraguay’s direct competitors have suffered similar export restrictions related to quality control but have since recovered to capture their original market share. We find that both a perceived and an actual absence of quality controls over beef production, coupled with the lack of an industry body representing Paraguay’s beef sector, are the major impediments to growth in the export market. The lack of sustained support and marketing of export-quality beef has led to persistent price discounting, despite quality improvements across the supply chain. The capacity to gain international market share remains diminished due to the disaggregated approach in which Paraguayan beef is marketed to foreign buyers. An industry-wide effort to coordinate food safety and quality activities, as well as maintaining certification programmes, market intelligence, export promotion and research and development could offer some degree of competitive advantage to Paraguay’s producers. While the idea of a central industry body has clear advantages, of greater value would be establishing meat quality standards that address the deficiencies in consumption-level responsiveness to meat quality. The establishment of an industry body would need to overcome the hurdles associated with related transaction costs across the alliance.

Gonzalez-Corzo Mario A. (2019-04-15): Agricultural Reforms, Land Distribution, and Non-Sugar Agricultural Production in Cuba

Since 2007, the Cuban government has introduced a series of agricultural reforms to increase non-sugar agricultural production and reduce the country’s dependency on food and agricultural imports. The most important agricultural reforms implemented in Cuba (so far) include: (a) increases in the prices paid by the state for selected agricultural products, (b) restructuring the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) and the Ministry of the Sugar Industry (MINAZ), (c) a new agricultural tax system, (d) the authorisation of direct sales and commercialisation of selected agricultural products, (e) micro-credits extended by stateowned banks to private farmers and usufructuaries, and (f) the expansion of usufruct farming. These reforms have contributed to the redistribution of Cuba’s agricultural land from the state to the non-state sector, notable reductions in idle (non-productive) agricultural land, and mixed results in terms of agricultural output. However, they have not been able to sufficiently incentivise output and reduce the country’s high dependency on agricultural and food imports to satisfy the needs of its population. Achieving these long-desired objectives requires the implementation of more profound structural reforms in this vital sector of the Cuban economy.

Heijman Wim, Szabó Zoltán and Veldhuizen Esther (2019-04-15): The Contribution of Biorefineries to Rural Development: The Case of Employment in Hungary

Most recent research concerning biofuels focuses on their potential for mitigating climate change, while their rural development dimension is given less prominence. Ongoing policy debates, including EU and US biofuel policies, pay little attention to this feature of the industry. This paper explores the impact of biorefineries on rural development, and employment in particular. It shows that biorefineries can have a considerable economic impact on the regions in which they are located. Embedded in the local social and economic fabric, the paper demonstrates their influence on regional and national labour markets. The case of a bioethanol plant in Hungary and its effect on the rural labour market in two counties of the country is studied by way of an input-output model. The research has found that the operation of a biorefinery stimulates the creation and maintenance of jobs in both farming and service industries. Results suggest that biorefineries are an important driver of rural development and that this aspect of the industry should be given greater weight in formulating biofuel policies.

Ndiritu S. Wagura and Ruhinduka Remidius Denis (2019-04-15): Climate variability and post-harvest food loss abatement technologies: evidence from rural Tanzania

This paper focuses on improved storage and preservation technologies as an adaptation strategy in response to climate change. We also study the trade-off between improved cereal storage technologies and the preservation techniques among rural households in Tanzania. We find that climate variables significantly influence farmers’ choice of improved storage technologies and preserving decisions. Using a bivariate probit model, we find that modern storage technologies and preservation measures are substitutes. Farmers can significantly reduce annual costs associated with preservation by adopting (usually long lasting) modern storage facilities.

Abel Otieno Benard, Gor Cristopher Obel, Okuro Samwel Ongwen, Omanga Paul Abuto and Bokelmann Wolfgang (2019-04-15): The African Indigenous Vegetables Value Chain Governance in Kenya

Increasingly, food security interventions in developing economies are adapting value chain approaches to facilitate the integration of smallholders into high margin value chains. In Kenya, the resurgence of African Indigenous Vegetables due to their medicinal value and rich micronutrients is a case in point. The vegetables are cultivated by smallholders, and the supply has not matched the demand in the high margin markets among urban consumers. Access to such high margin markets necessitates that smallholders gain entry or upgrade into the networks of those buyers who possess considerable control of these value chains. There is limited value chain scholarship on chain governance and its implication for smallholder participation in Kenya. This study investigated how value chain governance influences farmer participation in vegetable markets and food security in Kenya. This study employed exploratory case study design to provide chain architecture, isolate primary actors, their roles, relations, constraints and opportunities for upgrading by smallholders. A mixed method approach involving a multistage sampling technique of 339 respondents was employed to bring to the surface insights on chain architecture, market margins and governance structures and their implications as regards upgrading trajectories for small-scale farmers in Kenya. Thematic analysis was used for data analysis. Spot market relations were found to dominate traditional value chains in rural areas while peri-urban areas exhibited both traditional and coordinated value chains. The value chains are characterised by very weak linkages between upstream actors and downstream partners, where wholesalers and supermarkets play the role of leading firms in traditional and coordinated value chains, respectively. The study recommends the inclusion of famers in market management committees and the establishment of binding contractual arrangements with supermarkets.

Aleme Timkete (2019-04-15): Expansion of Sugarcane Production in Ethiopia: Welfare Opportunity or Devastation?

The government of Ethiopia is aiming to boost sugarcane and ethanol production, together with cogeneration. To achieve this goal, enormous sugarcane production strategies have been undertaken without there being concrete evidence as to theirs benefits or detriments to the welfare of households. Here, we used a computable general equilibrium model and SAM dataset to provide useful insights into this story. The results of the study indicate that the average aggregate income and consumption expenditure of households compared to the baseline scenario are negative, although the magnitude of the loss is small. We further find strong evidence that the average aggregate economic welfare of households has deteriorated by 3.43 percent and we conclude that the strategies that the government has been implementing are detrimental to welfare and devastating. Thus, we suggest that the government should cease sugarcane expansion that succeeds at the expense of food crops and policies that favour the use of marginal and barren lands for upcoming sugarcane projects should instead be implemented.