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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Implications of structural adjustment for household food security in Africa
Author:Sahn, D.E.ISNI
Periodical:Food, Nutrition and Agriculture
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:economic policy
food policy
Abstract:Structural adjustment has been criticized for contributing to increased poverty and food insecurity. This paper discusses the consequences of adjustment for food security in sub-Saharan Africa. A highly simplified framework of the pathways through which adjustment affects food security is given. The first pathway is through fiscal policy reforms, including changes in the level and allocation of public expenditures. The second is a process of reforming markets and market structures to affect incomes and prices as mediated by the impact on factor payments, prices, employment and output. The experience in Africa suggests that adjustment does not generally harm household food security. On the whole, the policy reforms in sub-Saharan Africa occurred in countries with widespread poverty, extremely inadequate social services and food subsidy and transfer programmes, stagnating economic growth and acute distortions. In these economies consumers and producers had already developed mechanisms to respond to ineptness and corruption. Thus, the widely held presumption of deleterious effects of adjustment on Africa's poor is perhaps explained by the erroneous tendency to confuse the reforms being undertaken with the economic crisis that precipitated the need for them, coupled with a failure to understand how coping mechanisms protected the household's ability to maintain an adequate level of consumption. Bibliogr., sum. in French and Spanish.