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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Food Policy, Volume 25, Issue 1, February 2000, Pages 35–54
A shift in Sudan's food production strategy towards more reliance on the irrigated sector for food supply has been induced by the severe food shortages following the early 1980s drought and reduced availability of food aid. Coupled with the high yield potential of irrigated wheat under modern technology revealed by recent research results, this led to significant expansions in the areas of irrigated food crops, especially wheat after 1989. This paper used domestic resource cost analysis to examine whether the expansion in irrigated wheat production represents the most efficient option for using Sudan's irrigated land resources as compared to cotton, the country's most important cash crop competitor. At the 1993 prices, medium-staple cotton dominated various wheat technologies in terms of economic efficiency. An efficiency frontier was constructed to evaluate the sensitivity of competitiveness results to changes in productivity gains and price shifts. Wheat yields currently achieved by average farmers on the scheme need to increase by more than 50% for wheat to compete with cotton at the 1996 prices. In other words, currently one ha of exported cotton generates economic returns that are sufficient to import about 50% more wheat than can be domestically produced from the same ha under average farmers' practices in Gezira. In addition to its superiority over wheat in economic efficiency terms, cotton has larger employment benefits than wheat, being the more labour intensive enterprise. This means that expanding irrigated wheat production in Gezira for food self-sufficiency at the expense of cotton reduces employment opportunities in addition to compromising economic efficiency. Priority should therefore be given to increased investment in research on improving cotton production technology, marketing and lint quality. On the other hand, it is important to introduce more effective policy measures for faster adoption of improved wheat technologies to close the gap between potential and current yield levels.
Many developing countries during the 1970s resorted to state-led domestic production of agricultural import substitutes for achieving national self-sufficiency in food production. In Africa, this strategy constituted an important component of the Lagos Plan of Action in 1980 and formed a priority in the national plans of most African countries at that time (Thomson and Metz, 1997). Self-sufficiency has been pursued mostly through the expansion of food crops at the expense of the production of cash crops. However, the issue of favoring food crops production for self-sufficiency has been controversial and often considered to be at variance with the concept of food security, which implies physical and economic access to basic food needs at all times. Food self-sufficiency as a developmental objective is based on many perceptions. Those include the need for greater independence and control of own food supply (especially when food imports might be affected by political hostility); avoidance of exploitation on international markets; deteriorating terms of trade of export crops; non-tradability of some staple foods and the problems of dependence on one export crop as the case in many African countries (Thomson and Metz, 1997, Dorosh and Haggblade, 1993 and Braun and Kennedy, 1994). A generalised priori judgement for or against food or cash crops would be invalid as situations vary between countries and various crops under consideration depending on prevailing economic circumstances. For instance, India's effort to expand local cereals production from 90 million ton (mt) in 1970 to 130 mt in 1985 (translating into an annual saving of about $10 billion of imports costs), has been considered a successful strategy to reduce food insecurity (Thomson and Metz, 1997). On the other hand, it has been argued that food availability in Egypt would decrease if land were switched from cotton production, for instance, to food crops. This is because one hectare of exported cotton generates sufficient revenue to support the import of a greater amount of cereals than would be domestically produced from the same hectare (Scobie, 1981). More over, self-sufficiency may induce inefficient allocation of productive agricultural resources if expanding domestic food production does not conform to the country's comparative economic advantage. The debate on incentives for food or cash crops would be misplaced in the presence of policy and market distortions that favor some crops over others. In which case, correction of such distorted structure of economic incentives in the direction of comparative advantage becomes the precondition for any progress towards economic efficiency. While many import substitutes are produced at costs higher than their import parity prices, several policies are advocated as conducive to the improvement of the comparative advantage of food production to redress the food gaps experienced in many African countries (World Bank, 1989 and Braun and Kennedy, 1994). Exploitation of the comparative advantage of cash crops has been prescribed as an engine for economic growth which in turn leads to improved food security (Dorosh and Haggblade, 1993, Delgado, 1995, Braun and Kennedy, 1994 and Maxwell, 1991). Irrigated agriculture has played a crucial role in agricultural modernisation and economic development in Sudan. Modern farming methods such as regular irrigation water supply and use of mechanisation and chemical inputs replaced a predominantly nomadic livestock rearing and subsistence farming on extensive parts of the central clay plains of the Sudan since the early decades of this century. The area under irrigation exceeds two million hectares, which is the largest among the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The irrigated sector contributes more than 60% of the country's foreign exchange earnings. It produces all the locally supplied wheat and sugar, about 90% of cotton, 40% of groundnuts, and 20% of the total sorghum crop (Hassan and Faki, 1993). While irrigation schemes were originally established to produce cash crops for exports, the share of food crops in total irrigated land has significantly increased over the past decade. This depicts a shift in the country's strategy from export promotion to import-substitution for self-sufficiency and food security. This switch in strategy was motivated by several factors. First, both recurrence of erratic rainfall and the alarming frequency of its failure after the early 1980's drought, had jeopardised the stability of the supply of sorghum; Sudan's basic staple food, which is mainly (80%) produced under dry land farming. This represented a high risk to food security. Second, the share of food aid in the form of wheat, the main cereal food for the politically powerful urban population, has substantially decreased from over 60% of total wheat consumption to a very low percentage by the late 1980s (Ministry of Finance, 1988). This, coupled with Sudan's efforts to cut the huge bread subsidy from budgetary sources which suffered severe external and internal imbalances, led to the recent endeavour by the government to promote domestic wheat production (Hassan and Faki, 1993). Moreover, the recent shift in the government agricultural strategy was encouraged by the impressive results of five years of agricultural research to test and verify improved wheat production technologies in farmers' fields in the Gezira and other wheat producing areas (Ageeb et al., 1990 and Hassan and Ageeb, 1992). As a result of the revealed potential for higher wheat yield, the government launched a national campaign in 1989 for achieving self-sufficiency in wheat by 1992. This led to significant expansions in areas allocated to wheat at the expense of cash crops such as cotton and groundnuts. Although the above mentioned factors provided a valid motivation for the Sudan's quest to move towards stabilising its food strategy, expansion in food production entails increased competition with cash crops for the country's currently scarce irrigated land resources. Therefore, the present study investigates the viability of Sudan's food security strategy and its consistency with economic efficiency goals. The comparative economic advantage of the recent national campaign to expand wheat production in the public irrigation schemes is analysed and evaluated. This is of special importance to irrigated agriculture where the use of mechanical and chemical inputs and irrigation water is intensified with the promoted new wheat technology package and hence the high foreign exchange component of input use. Moreover, earlier research has shown that employment effects of agricultural production in the irrigation schemes are central to food security in Sudan (see Maxwell, 1991 and Braun et al., 1998). As wheat is much less labour intensive than cotton, replacing cotton with wheat is expected to reduce employment, and consequently contributes to increased poverty and food insecurity amongst agricultural labourers. The study analysed the economic efficiency and comparative advantage of Sudan's wheat import-substitution strategy in the Gezira scheme, where more than 60% of the country's wheat and cotton are produced. The design and mode of operation of the other irrigation schemes follow that of the Gezira model. While the DRC framework does not capture broader economic linkages of agricultural growth (see Delgado et al., 1998), the study discussed implications of changes in cropping patterns on employment and food insecurity.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The proportion of irrigated land devoted to food production has been steadily increasing in the Sudan over the past two decades. The severe shortages in food supply experienced in the Sudan after the three-years drought of the early 1980s reduced availability of wheat aid, and the encouraging results of on-farm testing of improved wheat production practices were considered the main reasons behind the recent striving by the Sudan for self-sufficiency in food, particularly wheat. Relative profitability analysis and the DRC methodology were used to evaluate the comparative advantage of the existing and potential wheat technologies versus cotton in the Gezira to determine if wheat expansion represents the most efficient option for using Sudan's irrigated land resources. Results of the profitability analysis showed that the production of both wheat and cotton is heavily taxed under the current pricing and credit policies in Sudan. The tax was, however, higher on cotton growers. At the 1993 trend prices, medium-staple cotton dominated various wheat technology levels in the Gezira in terms of economic efficiency. Sensitivity analysis showed that for high-technology wheat to become the most efficient alternative in Gezira the world wheat price has to be 20% higher than its long-run trend. As the Sudan currently imports wheat at a price much higher than the long-run trend price, high-technology wheat revealed comparative advantage over cotton at the actual 1996 prices. However, average yields in the Gezira are much lower than potential yields obtained under the full package of improved wheat technologies. This suggests that it may not be economically efficient for Sudan at present to expand wheat production at the expense of cotton in Gezira. Before more land and water are switched from producing cotton to wheat, the gap between potential and farmer's wheat yields needs to be closed so as to make wheat farming in Gezira efficient. According to sensitivity analysis results, the Gezira tenants who currently produce wheat using traditional methods would have to improve their yield levels by more than 50% to compete with cotton at the 1996 price levels, i.e. from 1.28 t/ha to 1.95 t/ha. As it is highly unlikely that all wheat farmers can achieve this yield level at all locations in the scheme, priority should be given to cotton production in Gezira. This is also reinforced by the recent trends in world price movements in favour of cotton. Moreover, in addition to its superiority over wheat in economic efficiency terms, cotton has larger employment benefits than wheat being the more labour intensive enterprise. This means that expanding the area of irrigated wheat in Gezira for food self-sufficiency at the expense of cotton production reduces employment opportunities on the scheme in addition to compromising economic efficiency. The economy-wide benefits to be realised through broader economic growth linkages from higher employment are expected to be significant. Reduced employment of agricultural labour also has considerable negative implications for the food security of farm labour households. It is therefore more important for Sudan to invest more resources in research on improving production technology, marketing processes and the lint quality of its cotton crop. This is crucial for the question of economic efficiency, as potential yield gains from improved wheat production methods need to be weighed against potential gains from higher prices of finer quality cotton. Nevertheless, as wheat will continue to use at least part of its maximum allowable share of the land according to the crop rotation, efforts should be directed to removing the obstacles to higher and faster adoption of improved wheat production technologies tested and verified by the ARC in the Gezira. Input procurement and delivery systems need to be liberalised for more efficient and timely utilisation of modern inputs. More flexibility is also needed in allocating land and other resources among competing crops within the public irrigation schemes so that employment of domestic resources can respond to changing international economic opportunities. Wheat areas need to be tailored to the levels of input availability if adequate and timely input delivery cannot be provided for all planned areas. On-farm verification of the new wheat technology in the Gezira should continue, particularly at locations where water shortages are severe, to realise the true range of yields that can realistically be achieved in the Gezira Scheme. Adaptive research should attempt to modify the package of wheat technologies currently promoted by ARC to suit different locations in the scheme. While market distortions are relatively easy to eliminate through more liberal policies for input procurement and allocation, improving the supply and distribution of irrigation water may not be as easy. This will require substantial investments in rehabilitation of the existing irrigation infrastructure to increase the carrying capacity and conveyance efficiency as well as the overall water supply to the scheme.