Challenges of the Effectiveness of Agricultural Policies


Challenges of the Effectiveness of  Agricultural Policies

Given that most agricultural products are trade-able, in the absence of any restriction to trade or other policies, agricultural output prices will be determined by the world price levels, which, for a small country, are to be considered as exogenous.

The objectives of price policies, thus, should be pursued through attempts at modifying the effective prices faced by farmers and consumers, which constitutes the real incentives.

This is another important aspect to elaborate on is the challenges of the effectiveness of past agricultural policies.


Read: Meaning and Types of Agricultural Policy Instruments

Challenges or problems of the Effectiveness of Past Agricultural Policies

There are many challenges inhibiting the effective implementation of past agricultural policies in the developing countries, among them are discussed in this article.

To summarize, both the 1973 and 1977 legislation have given us important steps toward evolving more rational commodity programs. However, we still have a number of important policy challenges before us. Let me address at least four of them.

1. Policy instability: One of the major constraints to agricultural policy effectiveness was that of policy instability. Over the years, the rate of turnover in agricultural policies had been high, with many policies formulated and scrapped in rapid succession.

Again, this problem could be partly ascribed to political instability as every successive military government tended to jettison most of its predecessor‘s policies and programs in the erroneous belief that a new government could only justify its existence or make its mark by adopting entirely new policies and programmes.

2. Inconsistency in policies: It had been observed that some agricultural policies and programmes of Government tended to be mutually antagonistic rather than being mutually complementary and reinforcing. 

A popular example was the conflict, which existed between Government‘s domestic food production policy and its cheap food import policy. The latter was so antagonistic of the former that it (the former) was rendered ineffective.

One fundamental factor that made policy inconsistency so common was the failure of policy makers to adopt a systems approach to policy formulation. 

In a systems approach, the entire spectrum of agricultural and rural development problems would be viewed globally and consistent, mutually reinforcing policies would be addressed to them.

But as each problem was viewed in isolation of others and policy was addressed to each problem in isolation, the probability of inconsistency among policies could not but be high.

3. Narrow base of policy formulation: The base of the agricultural policy formulation process in Nigeria had, in the past, been rather narrow as the level of involvement of the people and their institutions in the formulation of policies that affected their lives was minimal. 

In the circumstance, these policies tended to lack grassroots support and the popular mobilization required for their success.

4. Poor implementation of policies: There was a tendency to regard the formulation of policies as ends in them, rather than being means to desired ends. As such, little attention was paid to the efficient implementation of policies. 

Bureaucrats and policy implementers tended to lose sight of the fundamental objectives of policies, instead, focusing on superficial issues. Poor managerial capacity, bureaucratic bottlenecks, corruption,  and high rates of policy turn over tended to complicate the problem of policy implementation.

5. Weak institutional framework for policy coordination: Inadequate institutional arrangements for policy and program coordination had often led to a duplication of effort and general inefficiency in resource use among agencies and ministries of the same government, between federal and state agencies, and between states. Inadequate monitoring and evaluation arrangements for policy implementation had also led to situations in which policies and programs tended to lose sight of their focus and original goals without corrective measures being taken.


Read: Guiding Principles of Agricultural and Food Policy Formulation

Conclusion on Challenges of the Effectiveness of Agricultural Policies

In this article, you have learnt about the challenges or problems of the effectiveness of past agricultural policies.  In this post we have learnt about: Challenges of the Effectiveness of Past Agricultural Policies

1)  Policy instability

2)  Inconsistency in policies

3)  Narrow base of policy formulation

4)  Poor implementation of policies

5)  Weak institutional framework for policy coordination

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