The IMF and the World Bank are currently putting pressure on the low income agrarian economies of Sub-Saharan Africa to make a number of economic adjustments in order to reduce their high debt/GDP and debt/export ratios. Among the probable long-run effects of these adjustments, one is particularly alarming. It is the prospect of the irreversible degradation of arable and grazing land in ways that put the sustainability of agricultural production at risk. This paper considers the impact of the adjustment on the microeconomic decisions of farmers, and discusses the link between these decisions and the degradation of resources. It indicates the crucial importance of the programme’s assumption about the effects of poverty, risk and uncertainty on the supply responses of farmers to change in exchange rates, interest rates, prices and taxes. It argues that these assumptions make the programme blind to the environmental costs of poverty under different incentive systems.
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- The Adjustment Programme and the Perverse Effects of Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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