Fw: [ujeni] news
- I'd be interested in reactions to Christine's first article. I've always
questioned the short term and maybe even mid term effects of IMF and World
Bank policies that they seem to tie to continuing aid for countries that are
so economically depressed. I guess what bothers me is that there are
people that I met, real people, who will be the ones to suffer, probably
quite a lot, in the time which it will take (I would think many years) to go
from government run systems to effective privatization. I've been
especially concerned about recommendations to get government less involved
in the health sector. I just don't see who can step in. Is the long term
good worth the costs during the transition? The only complaints about the
policies I've read in the past have been from the government leaders, and
who can trust them? Gee, the IMF and World Bank can be great scapegoats
for Muluzi and friends when everything falls apart, i.e. when all the food
reserves are sold off and government says "but they told us to do it"!
Maybe someone can explain to me how privatization is all supposed to work in
a country like Malawi. Granted the government isn't doing a very good job
of taking care of things. I'm obviously no economist but rather a mushy
sentimentalist, I'm afraid. Cathy
From: Christine Chumbler <cchumble@...>
To: bcchumbler@... <bcchumbler@...>; firstname.lastname@example.org
<email@example.com>; seanconchar@... <seanconchar@...>
Date: Friday, August 02, 2002 6:39 AM
Subject: [ujeni] news
>Agriculture Reforms Hurt Food Security
>UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
>August 1, 2002
>Posted to the web August 1, 2002
>Malawi's current food crisis is not just the product of drought, but
>also market-based agricultural reforms urged by western donors that have
>inadvertently undermined food security, according to a new report by a
>Washington-based research institute.
>Eleni Gabre-Madhin, a research fellow with the International Food
>Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said donor agencies including the
>World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), had urged the
>government to reduce its role in the production and distribution of food
>without assuring the emergence of a private sector strong enough to fill
>the resulting gap.
>"You now have a situation where neither the government nor the private
>sector is in place to provide what is necessary," said the
>Gebre-Madhin, who spent two years surveying 1,400 Malawian farmers and
>traders to determine whether poor communities had benefited from policy
>changes, said the roots of the crisis go back to reforms adopted by
>Malawi at the behest of the IMF and the Bank.
>While seeds and fertiliser have become more available, credit to buy
>them is mostly inaccessible to small-scale farmers, while rural roads
>have deteriorated and transportation costs are very high. As a result,
>it was cheaper to ship corn from Kansas to the nearest port than from
>one end of Malawi to the other.
>"The majority of farmers feel worse-off since the reforms," the report
>Private companies and traders that emerged as a result of the closure
>of state commodity boards were too small and too weak to provide the
>services and infrastructure needed to deal with shocks such as the
>current drought. In addition, donors steadily reduced funding during the
>1990s for rural development, especially roads and other transportation
>networks, and agricultural research and extension systems.
>The percentage of the World Bank's lending portfolio devoted to
>agriculture, for example, fell from 40 percent to seven percent over the
>past 20 years, the report noted.
>"Investments in rural infrastructure have all but dried up," said
>IFPRI's director Per Pinstrup-Andersen in the report. "There has to be a
>greater focus on rural areas, because that is where the poor reside."
>IPFRI is part of a consortium of agricultural research centres around
>the world that are closely tied to the World Bank, the world's biggest
>source of development finance.
>Over three million people are in need of food aid in Malawi. To escape
>a repeat of the current crisis, the country needs to overhaul land and
>water management practices and use drought-tolerant crops, Food and
>Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Country Representative Louise Setshwaelo
>"Unless action is taken quickly, to enable the farmers to resume
>production, restore and strengthen their ability to feed themselves and
>the rest of us on a sustainable basis, we are all at risk of
>starvation," she said at the launch of a US $400,000 emergency Targeted
>Input Programme (TIP) aimed at reaching 50,000 farming families during
>this winter season.
>Under the regular TIP programme, farmers receive free fertiliser and
>seed enough to plant in 0.1 hectare of land. It is a scaled-down version
>of the "starter pack" scheme that initially reached 2.8 million farmers
>when it was launched in 1998/1999. The programme was repeated in
>1999/2000 and helped Malawi produce a bumper 2.3 million mt maize
>Donors ended the starter pack scheme in preference for TIPs, which
>targets the poorest 1.5 million farmers.