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In summary below, attorneys at the National Agricultural Law Center have identified and compiled the top legal and policy developments that affected agriculture in , including many that will continue to do so in years to come. There are at least 8, similar cases filed nationwide. The 60 day timeline is currently halted while the litigation plays out. The back-and-forth trade dispute between the U.

Both countries slapped tariffs and threats of more tariffs on each other, resulting in economic hardship for many in the U. With its passage, it further banned the sale within the state of products made from animals that were confined to areas with less square footage than the California-mandated requirements. This required that out-of-state production meet in-state standards built on a California law governing living condition standards for hens laying eggs sold within the state. That law, along with a similar Massachusetts law governing living condition standards for egg-laying hens, pork and veal sold within the state, have been challenged by several other states.

The challengers requested that the United States Supreme Court hear the suit, and most recently the Trump administration recommended that the USSC not agree to hear it. Ultimately, the USSC will decide in the coming months whether to hear the case. In , an amendment to the farm bill that would have triggered significant changes to the operation of federal checkoff programs was defeated USDA — challenging the core funding mechanism for the federal beef checkoff continued through While this may not necessarily apply in all parts of South Africa, small scale farming generally means that labour is substituted for machines.

Therefore production outlays that would have been allocated to paying interest, loan repayment and depreciation costs on machinery, are instead paid as wages to labour, or earned as self-employment incomes by family farmers. In addition, small-farmers tend to make crop choices different from those made by large farmers. In particular, they tend to allocate more of their land to staple foods, vegetables, and drought-resistant crops that are less risky and also more labour intensive than the monocrop agriculture favoured on large farms.

Small-farmers, on international evidence, also tend to use their land productively for larger parts of the year than large-scale farmers. In particular, small-farmers' access to family labour often encourages them to make year-round use of available irrigation water. Finally, small-farm production is indirectly labour creating as well, because it results in income flows to low-income rural dwellers who tend to purchase services, building materials and consumer goods from local small scale rural services and industries.

South Africa has been meeting its food consumption requirements with domestic production for most items in most years. Projections show that the growing population, increases in income levels, and changes in preferences will lead to an increased demand for food, particularly for wheat, dairy products and meat, with a slower growth in demand for maize. In aggregate, together with regional and international markets, this gives a buoyant picture of demand for the sector, with major opportunities for producers.

The Government's approach is to promote comparative advantage and the efficient use of productive resources, encouraging the development of regional and international trading links, for exports as well as imports, as required. Regarding food imports, South Africa's port facilities for the bulk handling of grains are adequate for the country's presently envisaged import requirements. However, the capacity is not without limitations especially when the SADC's requirements have to be met. These will, however, be partly met through developments to other ports in the region.

The economies of the region are mostly dominated by agriculture. Growth in agriculture, fostered by the move toward a free trade area and by internal market reforms in South Africa and in some of our neighbours, will serve to broaden and support trade and economic development in the region. The role of the Government in agriculture is to create an enabling environment for the development of the sector in such a way that the overall economic, social and environmental objectives described above can be achieved.

There are three aspects to this approach:. The role of the Government in regulating the market and determining agricultural product prices has been greatly reduced, which clearly enhances the competitiveness and efficiency of the sector. However, failures still occur in the ways in which some markets operate, which affect small scale farmers in particular, and their access to production requirements and credit as well as to markets for their produce.

The direct subsidisation of the costs of farm inputs and of loans will not be Government policy. Such subsidies have distorting effects and cannot provide a basis for sustainable incomes from farming. Only in exceptional cases will the Government consider providing financial support to farmers. In such cases assistance will be provided to fulfil clearly defined objectives, will be carefully targeted and will have time limits. For example, selective support to encourage new investments in agriculture among land reform beneficiaries and other small scale producers could be considered.

In short, the Government will intervene where a public good can be achieved by its actions, which would not be achieved by decisions taken by the private sector and individual farmers. The Government itself will undertake only those activities for which it has the expertise and resources, to provide a better quality service than could be provided by contracting out.

Even in areas of strategic importance, consideration will always be given to outsourcing if it is most cost effective to do so, and if the quality and reliability of the function is not compromised by purchasing it from sources outside the Government. In supporting agriculture, the Government is keenly aware of the contribution that the sector as a whole can make to enhance the effectiveness of its support. Partnerships will be sought with input suppliers, cooperatives and other farmer organisations, commodity organisations, financial institutions and others in seeking mechanisms to support policy objectives.

The trusts established after the closure of the control boards are a particularly important form of partnership to promote market access and encourage new entrants to particular commodity production. The Government will also encourage the development of different forms of farmer organisations and, where appropriate, the development of private suppliers, and assist these in providing the services which their members require from the Government.

The Government will also seek to strengthen the efficiency of service provision by targeting those most in need of support, principally the resource-poor and emerging farmers. Where Government-funded services are to be delivered, the Government will look for the most efficient service provider, whether public, private, NGOs or farmers' own organisations. Where a good case can be made out for outsourcing services, this will be done.

In addition, it is the Government's intention to apply the principle of user payment to those who can afford to pay for publicly provided services and where the costs of collection can be justified by the likely revenues. In future, the Government will only provide free services if there is a convincing argument for doing so. It will seek to recover at least part of the costs of activities such as meat inspection or soil testing that benefit individual producers.

The Government's intention is to ensure that agriculture is able to contribute to achieving national economic and social objectives, as described above. The strategy is therefore to reform policy to achieve three strategic aims. These are:. This will be achieved by continuing the process of market deregulation while assisting farmers to address some of the challenges of a deregulated environment section 2.

It also involves negotiating reductions in protectionist measures in trade policies as well as taking steps to encourage export competitiveness section 2. Efficiency objectives also require new approaches, on the part of the Government, in assisting farmers to cope with risks, such as drought, inherent in agriculture section 2. This will be achieved by initiatives in six areas. Steps will be taken to strengthen the agricultural research system to make it more responsive to a wider range of farmers section 3.

About Future Agricultures

Agricultural conservation policy will mainly focus on water, land use and biodiversity. Regarding water, new approaches to irrigation development and management, designed to ensure more efficient use of water in agriculture and its more equitable distribution, will be adopted section 4. With regard to land, the policy is to design measures which will contribute to the sustainable use of agricultural natural resources, while recognising that the responsibility for such use lies with farmers and their communities.

Specific steps will be taken to initiate a national land care programme section 4. In respect of the conservation of plant and animal species and the protection of endangered ecosystems, the principal emphasis will be upon meeting internationally agreed standards and commitments and translating these into national programmes section 4. Since , the Government has put considerable effort into the revision of agricultural marketing policy. The reason for this is that efficient, flexible and accessible agricultural markets are central to achieving its objectives of creating jobs and generating incomes, contributing to foreign exchange earnings, providing a spatial balance between rural and urban areas, providing food for all at affordable prices, and strengthening linkages with the industry.

Furthermore, at that time the marketing system was characterised by high levels of state control, concentrated ownership by a small number of vested economic and political interests, and the exclusion of black people and those farming on a smaller scale. Aside from this, the system was widely criticised for giving only weak incentives for economic efficiency. Overall, it was not compatible with the principles of the RDP and GEAR, nor was it compatible with the agricultural sector the Government envisages in this paper.

The reforms are now nearly complete in that the Government has created a new framework for the activities of all players in the market. What is now needed is a sustained effort by private-sector individuals, companies and farmer organisations, backed by the Government, to take advantage of the new opportunities for market development.

The changes have been based on the recognition that a market-orientated agricultural sector will be more dynamic and efficient, as it will give space for increased participation by new types of farmer, and will become internationally competitive. Agriculture's contribution to the GDP and employment growth will be maximised, the marketing margins between producers and consumers will be minimised, and the scope for cross-subsidisation of producers by consumers will be limited to explicit and visible policy instruments such as tariffs.

The Government is confident that the private sector, including cooperatives and other farmer organisations will, with encouragement from the Government, be better able to undertake the functions that the control boards previously carried out. This will open up many opportunities for new entrants in trading, processing and transport in rural areas. The Act, which came into effect in January , is based on the view that state intervention in agricultural markets should be the exception rather than the rule.

The Act does provide for a certain number of limited interventions, which include the collection of levies, the conducting of pools, the keeping of records and returns, export controls and compulsory registration. However, when any intervention is proposed, it must be demonstrated that one or more of the aims of the Act will be promoted without food security or employment being affected negatively.

Features of Indian Agriculture - Class 11 Economics Features Problems & Policies of Agriculture

By early , the control boards dealing with maize, sorghum, oilseeds, wool, meat, wheat, cotton, mohair, lucerne, citrus, deciduous fruit, dried fruit, milk and canned fruit had all been closed except for residual legal and technical functions. The response to these changes has been very encouraging. After a period of uncertainty which many in the sector understandably found unsettling, there is clear all-round determination to make the new arrangements work and to take advantage of the opportunities they create.

The following are some of the recent developments:. Overall, the present arrangements provide a clear and consistent framework within which producers, processors and consumers can act and invest with confidence. However, there are still concerns that call for close monitoring and possible actions by the Government.

They are:. The South African economy in general can be described as highly concentrated, both horizontally and vertically, particularly at those points of agricultural commodity chains that interfaced with control boards and their marketing arrangements. As the marketing arrangements for various commodities become less regulated, there is a danger that the potential benefits of deregulation may be counteracted by market concentrations that were nurtured by the control-board system.

The Government will, therefore, monitor the impact of market concentration on the efficient performance of deregulated agricultural markets. Where problems are identified, the Government will have the option of utilising competition legislation under the DTI, or taking sector-specific initiatives. One area of concern could be the bulk storage and handling of grains and oilseeds. Between the mids and the mids, a bulk storage infrastructure with highly concentrated ownership, particularly at local level, was built up as an integral part of the statutory marketing systems for grains and oilseeds.

At present, as the markets for grains and oilseeds adjust to deregulation, the market for bulk storage and handling appears to be working reasonably well. This is particularly true of the market in silo receipts, which allows access to the storage capacity to a wide range of producers and processors. However, it is important for the efficient and equitable working of the market that bulk silo facilities owned and operated by cooperatives and former cooperatives be made available to all potential customers farmer members, farmer shareholders, other farmers, traders and processors on the same terms.

Concentrated ownership of bulk silos should not become a means for controlling or manipulating one or more of the physical grain markets by, for example, pricing access to silo infrastructure in general, and tradable silo receipts in particular, in a discriminatory or oligopolistic manner. Input and output prices are now, and will continue to be, determined by market forces, and the Government will not intervene directly to influence them. Producers, processors and consumers are expected to take their own measures to manage price risk.

The exception would be where the Government may use tariffs to provide a reasonable level of protection to domestic producers. This issue is discussed in section 2. The Government may also take action when this is necessary to ensure price competition in a situation where one or more market players are abusing a monopoly position. One of the main reasons for promoting greater flexibility and diversity in the marketing system is that it will become better able to provide the types of market services needed by new entrants into agriculture.

The Government is confident that over time this will prove to be the case, especially to the extent that rural areas will be well served by transport infrastructure that will permit the low-cost and reliable movement of freight. In some parts of the country, such infrastructure will be one of the main determinants of the adequacy of market facilities. Nevertheless, there will still be real and perceived cases where new entrants to agriculture will be faced with problems of market access.

It is important to understand the real nature of the problem in order to determine whether a response by the Government is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take. Problems of market access arise when producers, or groups of producers, face high transaction costs as a result of missing or incomplete markets.

Thus, given the established market prices for commodities that they produce, or would like to produce, the resultant net farm-gate price makes production of that commodity an unviable proposition. When the problem is broken down to its constituent parts, it becomes clear that market access problems arise from one or more of a very long list of difficulties faced by the farmer. Transaction costs impact on three factors that can contribute to viability: the net farm-gate price per unit, yields, and input costs.

A low net farm-gate price may be the result of, inter alia , excessive per unit costs in getting the product to the market. These costs may result from low volumes, long distances, poor infrastructure, poor quality, marketing at the wrong time perhaps because of a lack of information or credit , distance to the closest processor, or poor contacts.

Input costs may be high because of difficulties in accessing credit, the distance from the source of farm inputs, poor infrastructure physical and trading , or the use of production systems which are unduly reliant on off-farm inputs. In their turn, input costs affect the rate at which farmers adopt new technologies, and hence the yields they achieve. It follows that different root causes of market access and profitability problems may justify different responses by the Government.

The Government may facilitate the development of alternative institutions that will break down barriers to participation. It may also reduce transaction costs through the provision of infrastructure, information, training and research. The danger is that because the symptom is often quoted as the problem, efforts may be concentrated on the treatment of that symptom, rather than on confronting the root causes.

If the underlying causes are ignored, it will be difficult to distinguish between situations where Government assistance is justified, and where not. The implication is that market access is a problem where generalisation is unhelpful. Market information is crucial to the proper functioning of any market. It promotes efficient arbitrage between markets, which is to the benefit of both consumers and producers, and the efficient allocation of productive resources. It improves the bargaining power of producers when dealing with traders and processors, and it reduces transaction costs by reducing risks.

In a deregulated market, certain types of market information will be adequately and reliably provided by the private sector. However, where there is no obvious reliable source of price information, the Government will take steps to give assistance. For example, information concerning utilisation, imports and exports of agricultural commodities used to be readily available from control boards. Where the closure of boards has left an information gap, new initiatives have been launched, such as the South African Grain Information Service SAGIS which collects figures on the consumption, importation and exportation of maize, winter grains, sorghum and oilseeds.

Applications are being made in terms of the appropriate sections of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act to oblige those who store, trade and process such commodities to submit the appropriate information on a monthly basis. Funding of SAGIS, and similar initiatives for other commodities, is likely to be reliant primarily on allocations from the various grain and oilseeds trusts, and secondarily on levies. The Government recognises the importance of these initiatives for the efficient and transparent functioning of the market.

Other information that is of particular importance with regard to the operation of the market relates to domestic production, and consumption, imports and exports by month. The National Crop Estimates Committee, coordinated by the Department of Agriculture, is responsible for estimates of area, by province, planted to a particular crop and for regularly updated estimates of the expected crop size by province. It is very important that information on crop estimates should not only be objective and unbiased, but should also be perceived to be such. The Government will ensure that the composition and operations of the National Crop Estimates Committee enhance its reputation for accurate and objective estimates.

The Government will also put in place additional mechanisms to report on the commodities where existing arrangements for the collection and reporting of market information are inadequate. The Government recognises that one of the legacies of apartheid policies is missing or incomplete markets in areas where black farmers are located.

This results from, among other things, unequal access to marketing information. Furthermore, international experience, obtained particularly from structural adjustment lessons, shows that adherence to the market, without paying attention to the constraints smaller farmers face, can lead to these farmers being further marginalised and income disparities being accentuated. Government policies are addressing the marketing information problem for small and medium-scale farmers in a number of ways. The Government believes that deregulation of agricultural markets will go a long way to improve small and medium-scale farmers' access to marketing information.

As the policy environment becomes conducive to small scale production, and when these farmers are less excluded from existing marketing arrangements, it is likely that traders will provide more information to farmers to stimulate the volume of their trade. Institutional innovation involving producer and trader organisations, such as cooperatives, will also contribute to providing information. The Government's role will be to help build capacity in these organisations to enable them to meet the needs of their members see section 3.

More specifically, the Government will ensure that appropriate institutional arrangements are in place for collecting, analysing and disseminating information to small and medium-scale farmers.

Agricultural policy

The focus will be on information enabling farmers to make better decisions regarding what to produce, when to harvest and sell and where to sell. This will include information on:. In order to ensure that the Government's role and responsibilities in relation to market access and market information are most effectively organised and properly resourced, new initiatives and procedures and their organisational and resource implications are being investigated.

The extension services will also be expected to play a significant role in disseminating such information. Section 3. The envisaged reorientation of extension workers will include training in advising farmers on marketing their commodities, and helping farmers to understand marketing costs and margins. Agriculture in South Africa is emerging from a history of protection and subsidisation described in section 1 which affected the structure, efficiency and competitiveness of the sector. Our strategy for achieving our set objectives of making agriculture more efficient, creating jobs and opportunities and using resources sustainably, is based on an outward-looking approach.

In this approach the global village is seen not only as a market for output, but as a tool for effecting efficiency by exposing our producers to international competition. The objectives of the agricultural trade policy are to enhance and maintain market access for agricultural products and ensure that the sector contributes to its full potential to the export growth target aspired to in GEAR.

Agricultural exports are critical to the achievement of this target since their contribution to total export earnings is substantial. The potential for export growth in this sector exceeds the targets set in GEAR. The agricultural trade policy vision applies to the whole of South African agriculture, which includes diverse producers and agro-industries. For the purpose of this policy, agriculture includes primary agricultural products and agro-industrial products. The Government's vision is to increase market access for the country's agricultural products, and to see an increase in the supply of highly competitive South African agricultural goods in international and domestic markets.

This will ensure that agriculture makes an optimal contribution to economic growth, food security and job creation, and contributes substantially to the reduction of income disparities. To achieve this vision, policy must create an environment in which the sector can exploit comparative and competitive advantages and be highly competitive at regional and international level.

This will require effective use of the World Trade Organization WTO framework to eliminate market access barriers set up against South African agricultural exports, and to protect local agricultural industries against unfair trade practices. In the context of this policy paper, static comparative advantage is defined by broad national resource endowment, including soil, climate and water. Dynamic comparative advantage is based on infrastructure, skills and technological innovations built through a policy regime.

On the other hand, competitive advantage is based on individual entrepreneurial ability to capitalise on the existing static and dynamic comparative advantage. Within the agricultural sector, the main objective of trade policy reform is to sustain the integration of the sector in the global economy in order to encourage internal and external competition and allow greater access to markets, technology and capital for South African agriculture.

Effective participation in the WTO to press for global reforms of agricultural trade is critical to the achievement of agricultural trade policy objectives. The Government will address these issues by means of three policy instruments, namely trade diplomacy, tariff policy and export promotion. The global trend now is to engage in trade diplomacy to secure improved and equitable market access.

Trade negotiations have increasingly become an important tool for opening up markets for South African agricultural products. Thus trade diplomacy is an integral part of agricultural policy designed to promote competition and efficiency. In the period since April , South Africa has been granted a number of nonreciprocal trade concessions by developed countries and regions.

These concessions, though welcome, are of minor significance. Market access impediments can only be resolved through continuing substantive negotiations. Trade diplomacy involves reciprocal obligations. While seeking improved access to foreign markets for its producers, South Africa will also be required to offer concessions in terms of improved access to its market. Firstly, agriculture will have to play a significant role in prioritising sought-after partners where negotiated agreements will be necessary.

Secondly, complex trade negotiations demand a clear understanding of the interests of the agricultural sector so that appropriate tradeoffs are agreed to. There is a need for a detailed analysis of the threats facing South African producers from international competition and of the impediments to their participation in the global market place. South Africa's membership of the WTO offers both opportunities and constraints. The Agreement on Agriculture defines commitments for the sector, to be implemented in equal annual instalments over a six-year period starting in These commitments relate to export subsidies, domestic support, and market access.

Each member's specific commitments are contained in country schedules appended to the Marrakech Agreement.

About FACTS Reports

South Africa's commitments are summarised in Box 2. South Africa's total export subsidy outlay commitment in was R million which must be reduced to R million by the year With the termination of the General Export Incentive Scheme in July , export subsidies are now zero. In value terms, domestic support commitment was R2. The commitments for and were met. Tariffication —All nontariff border measures to be converted to tariffs which must be bound against increases.

Those products with the highest base rates will decrease by a higher rate than those with more modest base levels, thereby achieving the average reduction required over the implementation period. The tariffication of import permits was implemented relatively smoothly during , with applied levels of tariff generally lower than the ceilings represented by the commitments.

Fifty-three product categories have minimum market access commitments. In most other cases, the applied rate was below the IQTR thereby obviating the need to administer a quota. Total agricultural imports have grown at a faster rate than agricultural exports in the to period. It is also bound by disciplines placed upon technical barriers to trade and the protection of intellectual property, which aim for greater predictability, fairness and transparency. South Africa's priority is to ensure compliance with agricultural commitments in the WTO.

However, many concessions were made during the Uruguay Round to agricultural lobbies in developed countries, and a relatively high level of support remains. South African producers and exporters are left at a distinct disadvantage as are a number of other less developed agricultural exporting countries. The effective use of trade diplomacy requires strategic direction and management, as well as coordination of activities around negotiations to ensure that all are seeking to achieve the same objectives.

To this end, the Government will set up an interdepartmental committee that will forge agreement among the relevant Departments regarding South Africa's priorities in the next round. The NDA will play a leading role in this regard considering the complexity of issues and the likely importance of the sector in the next round.


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At sector level, the NDA will effectively deliberate with industry representatives in order to prepare sharply defined objectives and appropriate negotiating strategies. In addition, the NDA will develop mechanisms for monitoring implementation of the agreement by our competitors. Capacity will be developed to debate and articulate implementation problems faced by South Africa, and recommend the necessary policy changes when required. A strategy for balanced development in the region and a collective approach for seeking market access outside the region, will benefit both South Africa and its neighbours.

Since the April elections, South Africa has therefore been involved in negotiations regarding possible trade agreements within the Southern African region. A precise definition of the FTA and the process of establishing it will be determined in various rounds of negotiations. The protocol allows for a significant element of asymmetry in trade liberalisation, which means that South Africa will open up its markets at a faster rate than other SADC members.

Thus the formal outcome as well as the timing of the implementation of the obligations will favour the other SADC members. It is expected that the protocol will lead to the removal of customs duties on substantially all current trade within ten years. The most prominent demands to date from SADC partners for greater access to the South African market have focused on industrial products such as clothing and textiles.

However, many SADC countries enjoy comparative advantages in agricultural products. An expected outcome is an increase in imports of primary agricultural products from the region into South Africa, and shifts in production patterns due to comparative advantage. All products will be included in the phasing out of tariffs and tariff reduction will be on a linear basis. Specific protocols will be designed for sensitive commodities for specific periods of time.

South Africa is also committed to other arrangements in the region. Secondly, a number of bilateral agreements have already been concluded in the region. The Government will aim to finalise and implement an agreement with Zimbabwe. Currently a number of agricultural products can be exported from Zimbabwe to South Africa free of duty subject to an import permit issued by the NDA. Agreements exist with Malawi in terms of which all goods produced or manufactured in Malawi may enter South Africa free of customs duty, and with Mozambique according to which specific products and quantities may be imported into South Africa subject to tariff rebates.

In all these agreements the NDA will establish effective mechanisms for monitoring agricultural trade resulting from the agreements and their impact on our sector. In future, South Africa's trading relationships with the EU will be of great importance to the agricultural sector. South Africa is therefore currently engaged in negotiations with the EU with a view to establishing a free trade agreement.

The Government's aim is to negotiate greater access to the EU market and remove the discrimination which South African producers currently face. It appears that the terms of the agreement, as far as agriculture is concerned, may fall well short of what is satisfactory to the sector. The Government will, however, persist over time in arguing the case for improved access for all agricultural products to EU markets.

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Agricultural Policy in Kenya: Issues and Processes – Future agricultures

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