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Title:The Impact of Policy Reform on Small-Scale Agribusiness: A Case Study of Maize Processing in Zimbabwe
Author:Rubey, Lawrence
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:agricultural policy
small farms
agricultural technology
grain processing
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Economics and Trade
Politics and Government
Development and Technology
Abstract:Using survey evidence from Zimbabwe, this paper explores implications of choice of technology in the maize milling industry and examines the impact of economic reforms on the growth of small-scale milling firms. A central argument is that, prior to 1993, deep-seated policy biases protected large-scale mills from competition from small-scale firms. Recent surveys demonstrate that, under certain conditions, the growth of small-scale mills can simultaneously provide consumers with lower-priced maize meal products, expand employment opportunities and reduce the need for maize meal subsidies to large-scale millers. The paper explores policy biases in technology choice in Zimbabwe; compares alternative milling technologies with respect to production costs, employment generation, investment costs, foreign exchange utilization and other criteria; investigates the impact of policy reforms introduced in 1993 on the maize milling industry; and examines the post-reform marketing constraints facing production millers (millers who sell bagged and branded maize meal, as opposed to custom millers, who only offer milling services). The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of policy reform for the development of small-scale agribusiness. Bibliogr., notes, ref.