Giving orphan crops an even break

Prabhu Pingali sets out the nutrition case for crop-neutral agricultural policy in an interview at Asterisk.

There’s a lot more talk about nutrition-sensitive agriculture and a lot more pronouncements about why this is important. However, most governments see this as an add-on, not a substitution. Rather than removing the existing supports or reducing the existing supports for staples, governments have just added supports for other crops. That creates some marginal improvement for some of the other crops, but your fundamentals don’t change. The crop-neutrality argument says: Treat all these crops on a level playing field and let market signals determine the supply responses.

Easier said than done, but there’s more in his chapter on Are the Lessons from the Green Revolution Relevant for Agricultural Growth and Food Security in the Twenty-First Century? in last year’s book Agricultural Development in Asia and Africa.

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