Proceedings

PL1_Pr – China’s Farm Policies And Turning Three Lost Decades Into Three Miraculous Ones: Are There Lessons For Agriculture Development For The Developing World?

The lost decades for China in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s look remarkably like the lost decades of many developing countries in the 1980s and 1990s. Poor land rights, weak incentives, incomplete markets and inappropriate investment portfolios undermined the performance of China’s farm sector during those years. However, China burst out of its stagnation in the 1980s and has enjoyed three decades of remarkable growth. In this presentation we examine the record of the development of China’s food economy and identify the policies that helped generate the growth and transformation of agriculture. Incentives, markets and strategic investments by the state are shown to key factors in this development effort. Equally important, however, is what the state did not do. Policies that worked and those that failed (or those that were ignored) are addressed. Most importantly, we try to take an objective, nuanced look at the lessons that might be learned and those that are not relevant for Africa, South and Southeast Asia and the rest of the developing world. Many parts of Africa and South and Southeast Asia have experienced positive growth during the past decade. We want to examine if there are any lessons that might be helpful in turning the past decade or so for growth into several more decades of prosperity.

Keywords: agriculture development, farm policies, China
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Author(s): Rozelle, S.

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Organizations(s): Stanford University