ReSAKSS-Asia Policy Notes


by IFPRI | August 25, 2016

Latest Policy Notes

Improving agricultural productivity in Papua New Guinea: Strategic and policy considerations: Synopsis
Benny, Dickson; Benson, Todd; Ivekolia, Mark; Kedir Jemal, Mekamu; Ovah, Raywin. Washington, DC 2022

DOI : 10.2499/p15738coll2.135003
Abstract | View

In a recent working paper, we examine staple and cash crop production yields in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In doing so, we assess the yield gap (difference between the crop yields farmers commonly obtain and what they might realize with optimal inputs and crop management) for the main staple food crops in PNG. The yield gap for sweet potato is the smallest (1/4 - 1/3 less than attainable yields), while banana shows the largest yield gap at about ¾ less than what might be achieved under intensive cultivation. In addition, we compare PNG agricultural output with areas of similar growing conditions in Indonesia to provide insight into potential investments to further spur agricultural productivity in PNG. Finally, we assess current sector policies in PNG that aim to support agricultural development as an engine for economic growth.
Effects of COVID-19 on Papua New Guinea’s food economy: A multi-market simulation analysis
Diao, Xinshen; Dorosh, Paul A.; Fang, Peixun; Schmidt, Emily. Washington, DC 2020

DOI : 10.2499/p15738coll2.134174
Abstract | View

Developments in the agricultural economy of Papua New Guinea have major impacts on household food consumption decisions. A household’s ability to produce and sell food is affected by climate and associated agricultural potential, market opportunities (domestic, import and export) and unexpected shocks. Each of these factors affects the overall food system, thereby influencing production and consumption of all food products and the markets in which they are traded. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a challenge far more complex than an agricultural production shock, such as those due to El Niño or pests. Rather than directly affecting agricultural output and rural household welfare, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected economies across the globe via trade disruptions (logistic challenges; international trade barriers), social distancing policies (domestic food market and nonessential business closures), and transportation restrictions (road closures; air travel cancellations). The measures aimed to curb the spread of COVID-19 have affected household incomes via urban job losses, reduced market interaction, and dramatic changes in world food prices. While rice prices have increased, luxury food prices, such as for chocolate (i.e. cocoa), have decreased. PNG’s unique and highly varied biophysical landscape has shaped agricultural production patterns, outcomes, and livelihoods for centuries. Understanding how the PNG agrifood economy and resulting household consumption is affected by COVID-19 therefore requires attention to linkages and substitution effects across various products and the markets in which they are traded.
Evolution of agricultural mechanization in Vietnam: Insights from a literature review and multiple rounds of a farm household survey
Takeshima, Hiroyuki; Liu, Yanyan; Nguyen, Cuong Van; Masias, Ian. Washington, DC 2019

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Vietnam has experienced rapid growth in agricultural mechani-zation lately; particularly in the use of tractors and combine-harvesters. A recent IFPRI study documented the evolution of the growth of mechanization in Vietnam based on an extensive review of the existing literature and several rounds of a nationally repre-sentative household survey. The level of tractor use in Vietnam was relatively high in the 1970s and the early 1980s but declined through the late-1980s before it started taking off again in the 1990s. The relatively high level of tractor uses up to the early-1980s were partly due to political and military reasons, as both the West and the Soviet Union gave substantial support in providing heavy machinery, including tractors. In this note, we focus on the evolution of mechanization from 1990s to 2000s.
Nepal’s 2072 Federal Constitution: What are the implications for governance of the agricultural sector?
Kyle, Jordan; Resnick, Danielle. Washington, DC 2018

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In September 2015, Nepal’s Constituent Assembly passed a new constitution aimed at transforming Nepal from a unitary country into a federal republic with three levels of government: the federation, the province, and the local level. This institutional shift will have wide-ranging social, political, and economic implications for the country. However, this brief focuses specifically on the implications of these federal reforms for the agricultural sector and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoAD). Agriculture is the backbone of the Nepali economy, providing a livelihood for approximately two-thirds of the population, contributing one-third of the country’s GDP, and constituting over half of its exports. With greater authority and autonomy granted to more subnational units of government, ensuring that the agricul-tural sector is guided by coordinated planning, retains sufficient human capacity, and receives adequate fiscal resources will be of para-mount importance during the transition to a federal republic. Consequently, this brief addresses how the sector can be restructured to meet the constitutional provisions while simultaneously ensuring that MoAD delivers on its agricultural objectives, especially those out-lined in its Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS).
Rural incomes in the context of structural and agricultural transformation
Kennedy, Adam. Washington, DC 2018

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The agricultural sector of Asian middle-income countries is changing rapidly in line with an overall structural transformation of the economy brought about by economic growth. Dr. David Dawe of FAO discussed the changes taking place throughout Asia related to this agricultural transformation in his keynote address at the ReSAKSS-Asia event entitled “Agriculture and Rural Transformation in Asia: Past Experiences and Future Opportunities”. This brief summarizes some of the main points of his presentation while a more detailed discussion can be found in his earlier FAO working paper (Dawe, 2015).
Mechanization policy- Creating an enabling environment for private-sector investment
Kennedy, Adam. Washington, DC 2018

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Mechanization increases the power applied to agricultural operations and is one tool among many for improving farm productivity. It alone cannot drive the transformation of agriculture (Pingali 2007). Farmers will mechanize to lower costs and ensure timeliness of operations, allowing a greater area of land to be cultivated. The demand for mechanization is therefore determined by the stage of agricultural transformation reflecting the use of complementary inputs (improved seeds, fertilizer), the intensity of farming, land hold-ings, and rural labor supply. Countries across developing Asia have mechanized at different rates corresponding to their level of agricul-tural transformation but also strongly influenced by government policies. ReSAKSS-Asia organized a knowledge exchange event entitled “Agriculture and Rural Transformation in Asia: Past Experiences and Fu-ture Opportunities” to discuss, among many topics, insights into how agricultural mechanization has evolved in countries with different agroecological, institutional and political settings, and what common lessons can be learned for those countries at the early stage of mechanization. This brief summarizes some of the key lessons shared by participants.
Agricultural mechanization in the dry zone of Myanmar
Filipski, Mateusz J.; Belton, Ben; Van Asselt, Joanna. Washington, DC 2018

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This brief evaluates the extent of agricultural mechanization in four townships in Myanmar’s Dry Zone. It provides evidence that rapid mechanization is underway. Mechanical land preparation is now common-place, due to thriving machine rental markets, falling equip-ment prices, and better financing options. The mechanization of harvesting and threshing is also occurring but is concentrated in rice. These findings suggest that Dry Zone agriculture is at a technological crossroads.
Agricultural mechanization and south-south knowledge exchange: What can Ghanaian and Nigerian policymakers learn from Bangladesh’s experience?
Aboagye, Patrick Ohene; Abubakar, Abdullahi Garba; Adama, Abdulai Iddrisu; Lawal, Akeem; Musa, Aliyu Abdullahi; Takeshima, Hiroyuki. Washington, D.C. 2016

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Past agricultural mechanization efforts in Ghana and Nigeria have focused more on the styles of machinery used in western countries or Latin America, where average farm sizes are much larger. While West African countries, particularly Ghana, are still relatively land abundant compared to Bangladesh, seeking the right balance across various models is important for achieving mechanization growth across diverse types of farms. Learning from the experience of agricultural mechanization in Bangladesh offer useful inspirations toward how widespread mechanization growth can happen for smallholders in Ghana and Nigeria.
Promoting Agricultural Growth in in Myanmar: A review of policies and an assessment of knowledge gaps
Tun, Than; Kennedy, Adam; Nischan, Ulrike. Washington, D.C. 2015

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This paper reviews the agricultural policy environment in Myanmar up until 2014 with an eye towards identifying policies that can help to accelerate productivity and profitability in the agricultural sector. We draw heavily on the Framework for Economic and Social Reform (FESR) (2012) which provides the policy intents of the government both overall and at a sectoral level. Although limited, in some instances we rely on government data which is publically available only up until 2010. This paper primarily examines the evolution of input policies and their measures of implementation, i.e. those focused on farm inputs (land management; finance; water management; research, education and extension services; rural electrification; seeds; fertilizer and mechanization). We also provide a brief overview of policies which affect farm diversification (including rice productivity and crop diversification) and output policies including policies related to post-farmgate processing; logistics and transport; wholesale markets; and broad macro-economic and trade policy.
Strengthening the Philippine rice seed system
Sombilla, Mercedita A.; Quilloy, Karen. Washington, D.C. 2014

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This brief aims to identify the factors contributing to low certified seed use by evaluating the evolution of rice seed varieties, analyzing the trends in seed adoption, and describing the Philippine seed system and its regulatory structure. It concludes with a summary of these issues leading to key recommendations to improve and strengthen the rice seed industry.

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