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Really a Nontraded Commodity? – Datasets and code now available

05/12/2013 4 comments

Figure 1: Trade network for fresh potatoes.The most successful contribution to this blog is (a little to my own surprise) our analysis of the international potato trade network Really a Nontraded Commodity?

For all those who are interested in what’s behind that work, or who want to take the analysis further, or simply want to know how these graphs have been produced we have now made the matrices of bilateral trade in fresh, frozen, and seed potatoes as well as the R code publicly available.

All data comes with a Creative Commons license and is openly accessible at the zenodo repository.

(Thanks, zenodo, for this great service!)

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Ex-ante Evaluation of Improved Potato Varieties for Sub-Saharan Africa

This morning we presented our paper titled “Ex-ante Evaluation of Improved Potato Varieties for Sub-Saharan Africa” at the 9th Triennial Conference of the Africa Potato Association.

The paper features a forward looking analysis of the economic and social impacts of improved potato varieties in the region. We analyze a virtual investment project which involves the improvement and dissemination of potatoes in nine target countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The analysis employs the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) which has been developed at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Taking into account spill over effects across markets and countries, the analysis finds positive net welfare effects at the global level. Effects of the intervention on potato supply in the target countries range from 0.5% to 8.5%. Potato producers in these countries are found to benefit, but producers of other commodities and in other countries beyond the region are negatively affected. Lower market prices for potatoes and other commodities lead to welfare gains to consumers worldwide and in the region. At the level of the target countries, the improved potato varieties are found to generate returns on investment between 20% and over 70%, depending mainly on the level of adoption.

The analysis shows that investing in crop improvement and variety development for Sub-Saharan Africa can be a worthwhile undertaking with returns that easily justify intervention. However, it also highlights the importance of variety diffusion for the intra-regional distribution and the magnitude of the impacts and points to the importance of paying attention to quality attributes in breeding for high market acceptance and suggests putting emphasis in seed systems development and other interventions to promote quick dissemination and high adoption levels.

The full paper will be available in the conference proceedings.

Rural-urban migrants and their contribution to rural development

Migration impactsRural-urban migration has the potential to unfold a range of positive impacts on the development of the migrants’ home communities and the rural economy as a whole. Dealing with the case of China, I am exploring this issue in a paper titled “Rural-urban migration in China: An analytical framework of migrants’ contributions to rural development” which just got published in the latest edition of the Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences.

The paper relies on a review of literature from the fields of sociology, geography and economics to construct an analytical framework of positive contributions of China’s internal migrants on the development of source communities, of the migration process itself and of the institutional, administrative and social contexts of migration. It highlights interactions between these contexts on the one hand and the migration process and the associated contributions of migrants on the other hand. The framework provides a guideline for approaching similar problems elsewhere and offers support in the identification and assessment of possible policy interventions.

An earlier version of the paper was presented at the WorldBank‘s International Conference on Diaspora for Development which took place in Washington D.C. from July 13-14, 2009.

Global impacts of targeted interventions in food security crops

Image Poster Targeted InterventionsAt the 28th International Conference of Agricultural Economists (ICAE) which took place in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil from August 18-24, 2012, we presented a visual presentation of a paper titled Global impacts of targeted interventions in food security crops – the case of potatoes in developing countries.

The paper presents a simulation analysis of the global effects of interventions oriented at increasing productivity in potato production in 30 developing countries which are of priority for CIP‘s agricultural research for development. The simulation was carried out using the IMPACT global agricultural sector model. Simulation results show that the interventions lead to higher potato supply in target regions and globally but lower production in non-target regions and of non-target commodities. Demand for potatoes as food is projected to increase, but entails substitution away from other commodities. This substitution in food consumption would lead to weakly positive, but not significant, effects on food security. Market prices for potatoes and other commodities would decline slightly.

A principal aim of the simulations made for the paper was to explore and assess the depiction of potato production and consumption in the model. Accordingly, the paper identifies a number of aspects which can be improved to arrive at more robust results for the potatoes commodity in IMPACT simulations.  These aspects include an increase in the spatial disaggregation of the simulation units on the supply and demand side, a better depiction of subsistence production and a review of the tradability assumptions in the model.