What is (are) the key characteristic(s) of the agrarian system in Sub-Saharan Africa?
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The main economic activities in Sub-Saharan Africa are agricultural. Agriculture is the largest contributor to the GDP in most countries accounting for 32% of the GDP. The major farming activities are livestock, fish farming, vegetables and fruits, and food crops. The characteristics of the agrarian system in sub-Saharan Africa can be looked at as how agriculture impacts the people and how it is carried out. Agriculture is the main source of income for the majority of the population. Between 70 to 80 percent of the population get their livelihood from agricultural activities. The agricultural sector is characterized by low productivity. This is what leads to Africa is a region that receives a lot of food aids and importation of food. The main source of foreign exchange is their coffee, tea, or pyrethrum. The agricultural sector experiences poor average annual growth which is caused by low investment in this sector (Collier, P, and Dercon, S. 2009).
There has been an improvement in agriculture in recent times. Many governments have managed to improve the sector by employing modern farming techniques. There is increased use of high yield crops to increase output. There is the use of machines I farming which improve efficiency when farming. This is observed in countries like Rwanda and Malawi. In many sub-Saharan countries, the agricultural sector is provided with subsidized fertilizer and pesticides. This improves crop yield and quality. Nigeria has started reclaiming land for agriculture.
In Bangladesh, the government guarantees rice farmers that it will buy rice at a specific price. Explain the costs and benefits to farmers in good and bad harvest years. In this context, do you agree with the statement, “Government policies to keep the price at which staple foods are bought and sold low helps to reduce poverty and inequality”? Why or why not?
The costs and benefits of selling the rice at a fixed price to the government are that farmers can operate with a view of what they will get without uncertainties. The fixed selling price reduces uncertainties in the rice markets. This gives the farmers an incentive to produce large quantities without worrying about fluctuations in prices. The farmers will also know how to manage their costs depending on the expected yield. I agree with the policies that keep the prices of staple foods low. this reduces the level of poverty and inequality. This intervention by the government to set price floors ensures that everyone gets what their products are worth. Farmers who offer their products in the market can sell their products without the worry of fluctuating prices. It gives confidence to the farmers that they will not make losses which increases productivity in the economy. By setting price floors the government is also in a position to buy the surplus products and guarantee the country with food security (Libby, R. and Timothy, T. 2009).
What is the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Asia and Africa and who are its primary supporters?
The alliance for a green revolution in Africa and Asia is an organization that deals with agricultural products from both continents. The primary supporters who fund the organization are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. It is an organization that aims at improving agriculture and supporting the local farmers and the labor in their farms. It tries to improve agriculture through policies, planning, and coordination. The goals of the organization are to double the incomes of 20 million small farmers (Friis-Hansen, E. 2000). They want to reduce food insecurity by 50% come 2020. They also have an aim of ensuring that at least 15 countries have sustainable agricultural activities that are climate-friendly. The organization has managed to improve the learning about agriculture in most countries. This has been done extensively in universities in Ghana and South Africa. With all these efforts they aim at creating food security in the continents.
What are the implications for a successful agricultural development strategy of the finding that women perform 60 to 90% of all work in traditional rural areas?
Agricultural development strategies are those put in place to ensure that goals for proper agricultural productivity are met. Successful strategy implementation means that people benefit from the agricultural policies that are being implemented. In the rural areas where women perform most of the work, they benefit by getting value for their labor. Successful implementation of strategies helps in eradicating poverty in rural areas. This encourages the growth of agricultural activities in the country. There is an increase in food security in the countries where there is a successful implementation of policies. This reduces the dependency that people have on food aids ad the importation of food. This is food sovereignty among the farmers and the country as a whole.
Briefly describe the key features of the Micro Credit program of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh founded by Dr. Muhammad Yunus during the famine in the 1970s. How did this Micro Credit model significantly improve the economic and social status of the poorest of the poor women in rural Bangladesh?
The Grameen Bank was founded on the principle that loans are better to interrupt poverty as compared to charity. They offered people money to invest in businesses and agriculture which enabled them to get income to pay off the debt. The bank was founded during the famine in the 70s as a micro-credit unit. They offered their customers credit classes so that everyone would be able to manage the money. They had flexible payment methods such as weekly payments and long term payment of bigger loans. This made people build on their financial base to enable them to take up larger loans. This promoted financial independence among the poor people in the populace (Bornstein, D. 2005).
Yunus encouraged all the borrowers to become savers to grow their money. The micro-credit emphasized women receiving loans to boost their social and economic stand. This is because women were seen to have a larger influence on household decision making. Lending to women ensured empowerment of the marginalized people and improvement of the lives of the women and children. This was as compared to lending to men who were seen to concentrate on their welfare. The women were able to improve the welfare of the whole household.
Bornstein, D. (2005). The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Collier, P and Dercon, S. (2009, October 13). African Agriculture in 50 years: Smallholders in a Rapidly Changing World? Expert Paper for the FAO Conference on “How to Feed the World in 2050?”, Rome.
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Friis-Hansen, E. (2000). Agricultural policy in Africa after adjustment, CDR Policy Papers Series. Copenhagen: Centre for Development Research.
Libby, R. and Timothy, T. (2009). Principles of Microeconomics. New York, NY: Flat World Knowledge, Inc.